Date: 
Friday, September 11, 2015 - 11:00

The Eden Project hosted a Microsoft DigiGirlz event, in partnership with Microsoft yesterday (September 10 2015).

The event was designed to provide young women with a better understanding of what a career in technology is all about.

DigiGirlz, a Microsoft YouthSpark program, gives secondary school girls the opportunity to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops.

Microsoft is providing DigiGirlz Days all over the globe, the Eden Project being one of two events held in the UK. The other UK event is in Reading, the headquarters of Microsoft in the UK.

The all-day event was held in the Core building at the Eden Project and led by 20 Microsoft volunteers. The students heard from motivational speakers, such as Kate Hughes, Microsoft/Skype sponsor of the DigiGirlz event and co-founder of non-profit group Software Cornwall, Michele Freed, Partner PM Manager, Skype, Felicity Herst, Program Manager at Microsoft/Skype, and Cathy Walkington, HR Director PE & O at Microsoft/Skype.

The young women interacted with Microsoft employees and managers to gain exposure to careers in business and technology. They also got an inside look at what it's like to work at Microsoft.

The event challenged girls from 10 different Cornish schools to create a pitch for a new game or app. All the teams chose to theme their pitches around encouraging people to go outside and interact with nature. At the end of the day they pitched their ideas to a panel of judges and a winner was announced.

First prize went to Bodmin College who will receive design and engineering resources from Skype to get at least as far as a working prototype of their application.

Lorraine Drybrough, Head of Computer Science at Bodmin College, said: “I’m incredibly proud of this bunch of girls; they’ve done a fantastic job today. Their team work was phenomenal and the outcome was great. I think their app is fantastic and it could take off.”

Grace Williams, a Bodmin College student who was part of the winning team, said: “I think we worked really well as a team and it was cool to be able to think of your own app. I also think it was quite cool to meet some of the people from Microsoft.”

Kate Hughes, Microsoft/Skype sponsor of the DigiGirlz event and co-founder of non-profit group Software Cornwall, said: “The DigiGirlz events are developed by Microsoft specifically to attract young women into a career in technology. DigiGirlz is a fun and practical way to engage and encourage work in IT, as well as make a difference to the lives of schoolgirls in Cornwall.

“As a Cornish woman who grew up in Cornwall and studied in Cornish schools it’s both an honour and a pleasure to be a part of showcasing the ever-growing number of career opportunities now available to young women in technology.”

Kim Conchie, Chief Executive at Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, said: “DigiGirlz is a great initiative. There are some sectors in UK where we are just not harnessing all the energy and resources available to drive the economy forwards.

“I believe that girls choosing careers in the IT industry, in the widest sense, is one of the areas we really need to promote. And the prize for success would be – will be – huge.”

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