The innovative female returners programme Press Refresh, delivered by Women in Business in partnership with Belfast Metropolitan College, is celebrating the class of 2022 with two course graduates already securing jobs within global financial tech firm FinTru.
Press Refresh is an intensive 17-week programme funded by the Department for the Economy to equip women returners with new skills necessary to build their careers within Northern Ireland’s booming tech industry.
Research by DCMS found that NI’s digital ecosystem has the potential to grow by at least £800 million by 2025, a 53% increase in 2019’s value. Despite this, females are still largely under–represented within the sector, with just 20% of tech jobs across the UK currently held by women.
The Press Refresh scheme, which had 20 places available to women, received almost 300 applications in 2022, and has already aided two of the graduates into new jobs.
Two participants, Caroline Colgan and Mariclare Kelsall, have secured roles within tech and operations across FinTru. The global financial firm, whose NI office is located at Belfast’s Gasworks area, was one of several WiB forum members instrumental in developing the Press Refresh programme.
Roseann Kelly, Chief Executive of Women in Business, said: “I am incredibly proud that Women in Business’ Press Refresh programme continues to unlock tech opportunities for women returning to the workplace. Having completed their upskilling in data analytics, Caroline and Mariclare can now build exciting careers at FinTru with the confidence, skills and know-how needed to progress in the sector.
“The IT sector is largely male dominated, with only 20% of tech jobs currently held by women. However, with the support of the Department for the Economy and by working closely with our friends at Belfast Metropolitan College, we are enabling women across Northern Ireland to find their place in the country’s booming tech industry. With nearly 300 applicants to 2022’s programme, Press Refresh is a timely reminder of the untapped
potential of local female talent, and with it, the need to scale female-specific schemes to help answer Northern Ireland’s skill shortage.”
Louise Warde Hunter, Principal & Chief Executive at Belfast Metropolitan College, said: “Belfast Met is a Skills Engine within the Northern Ireland economy, committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We greatly value our partnership with Women in Business to enable our learners to reach their full potential and to fill skills gaps needed by employers .
“This highly successful initiative has enabled participants to gain industry relevant skills and qualifications to enable them to pursue a role in Data Analytics. The commitment of all participants to complete this technically challenging programme during the Covid-19 pandemic has been inspirational and I wish them all success in their future roles.”