Every year, our Women in Tech Initiative will recognise one not-for-profit organisation that has demonstrated exceptional initiative to support women in tech. This year, we are proud to recognise Women ReBOOT for this honour.
Women ReBOOT is an innovative initiative of the Software Skillnet and Technology Ireland (Ibec). It supports women with technology sector skills and experience to return to work after a career break. Women ReBOOT identifies and nurtures latent skills in these women and facilitates the transition back to work.
“Many women leave the sector for a period, typically in mid-career. 75% intend to return to work. However, a career gap of over 3 years creates a significant barrier to women accessing normal recruitment processes, despite their qualifications and experience.” – Maire Hunt, Director, Software Skillnet
Challenges faced by women returning to work after a career break may include loss of confidence in professional ability, lack of recent experience and a fear that technology has moved on and skills may be outdated. Visible role models may be scarce, resulting in the “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it” effect, and an absence of support communities for returners makes the task all the more daunting.
The Women ReBOOT initiative tackles these challenges through 5 pillars of support:
- Group seminars to develop confidence, professional competencies and CV and interview support to re-engage with the sector, while learning from the shared experience of the group and building mutual support networks;
- Technology training through an innovative online technology learning platform (Pluralsight) that supports upskilling across thousands of technology learning paths;
- Industry knowledge and certifications through a technology sector familiarisation training and qualifications like the Scrum Master;
- Individual coaching that supports the women to identify their new career aspirations and develop a personal action plan for returning to the sector;
- In-company work placement that allows the women to showcase their strengths and familiarise themselves with the working environment following their career break.
Piloted in 2017, Women ReBOOT has supported over 80 women to re-join the tech sector. It now has over 40 partner companies from global multinationals to successful indigenous tech companies. Our partner companies gain access to a previously untapped talent stream. Re-engaging qualified and experienced women can help alleviate a shortage of labour and achieve a better gender balance in the Irish tech sector. Our participants are highly motivated and prepared for a range of roles within technology. Having demonstrated their capabilities in work experience, ReBOOT graduates are now employed in exciting tech sector roles including software engineering, project management, scrum master, QA and test.
5 Facts about Women ReBOOT participants
- 70% have 3rd level qualifications at level 8 NFQ and 30% have Masters level education;
- 80% have been out of the sector between 5 and 8 years on entering the programme;
- 60% of participants are aged between 40 and 49;
- 100% have tried to return to the sector prior to ReBOOT;
- 80% of ReBOOT women gain immediate employment on completing the ReBOOT programme.
The Software Skillnet is expanding its Women ReBOOT programmes to support the progression of women already in the sector, to carry out important research on women in technology in Ireland, to create a Women Technology Leaders forum and associated programme, and to support a further 100 female technology professionals.