The innovative female returners programme Press Refresh launched last year by Women in Business, Northern Ireland’s leading business network for women in the workplace, and Belfast Metropolitan College, has placed 15 women returners in new jobs across Northern Ireland.
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 expanding IT sector.
The programme, which had 20 places available to women, received almost 300 applications and has already placed 15 of the 20 women into new roles.
One participant, Indhu Vishnu Das, secured a role within tech and operations across Citi Group. The global financial firm, whose NI office is located at Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, was one of several WiB forum members instrumental in developing the Press Refresh programme.
A total of 2,195 digital tech firms are now in operation across NI, employing more than 20,000 people as of April 2021. Despite this, females are still largely under–represented within the sector, with just 17% of tech jobs currently held by women.
Graeme Wilkinson, Director of Skills in the Department for the Economy, said: “I am delighted that the Department for the Economy has been able to fund the Press Refresh programme through Belfast Met and Women in Business.
“There is a diverse range of opportunities within the IT sector in Northern Ireland, and this programme has shown how collaboration between the organisations involved in Press Refresh and employers has helped inspire and motivate women returners into a career they may previously not have considered. The success of this programme will, I am sure, highlight to other women that there are options to consider in upskilling or reskilling in IT when returning to the workplace.
“I wish each of the participants continued luck in their new careers and search for employment.”
Roseann Kelly, Chief Executive of Women in Business, said: “I am incredibly proud that Women in Business’ Press Refresh programme has placed its first graduate into full time employment. Having completed her upskilling in data analytics, Indhu can now build an exciting career within one of Northern Ireland’s fastest growing industries at Citi Group.
“The IT sector is largely male dominated, but with the support of the Economy Minister 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. This not only helps aspiring women reach their career goals but breaks down barriers to gender diversity in the workplace, creating more inclusive organisations.”
Louise Warde Hunter, Principal & Chief Executive at Belfast Metropolitan College, said: “Belfast Met is a Skills Engine Institution committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We are delighted to have delivered the Press Refresh Programme in partnership with Women in Business.”
“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 successfully complete this technically challenging programme during the Covid-19 pandemic has been inspirational and I wish them all success in their future roles.”
To find out more information on Press Refresh, please visit https://pressrefresh.co.uk/