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Source: Sky Group Corporate

Sky has announced its second cohort of Women in Technology Scholars, awarding five talented women a total of £125,000 to accelerate a business idea which harnesses technology innovation.

The winners are a diverse mix of ages and industry experience however, they share a desire to use technology to bring about positive change. The five Scholars will focus on: improving children’s cultural experiences; helping the elderly stay independent; interactive television; advancing agriculture and educating young people on mental health.

From hundreds of applications, ten high quality candidates were shortlisted, before the impressive final five were selected by a panel that included Sky’s Group Chief Information Security Officer, Elaine Bucknor, who said: “I was blown away with the ingenuity of the projects presented and the calibre of talent and creativity.  It’s widely acknowledged that attracting women into technology is a challenge, so we have a responsibility to bring about change. Boys are more than twice as likely to be encouraged to work in tech, so it’s little wonder that half the girls we spoke to had ruled out working in the industry by the time they reached 18-years-old. Our Women in Technology Scholars programme enables us to nurture new talent and highlight inspiring role models to encourage others to follow.”

 Tech Talent Charter CEO, Debbie Forster MBE , also on the panel, added: “It’s been fantastic to help select such a brilliant group of women with ideas that can help shape the future of tech. It’s vital that organisations like Sky take action like this to deliver greater diversity in the UK tech workforce and better reflect the make-up of the population.”

Girls switch off 

New research shows that nearly half of boys are advised to consider a career in tech – compared to only one in five girls. And by 18-years-old 48% of girls have already discounted a career in technology completely .

At present, just 22% of the UK core STEM employment is female*. As a leading UK technology organisation serving 23.7 million customers, Sky wants to attract and attain women of all ages and levels to our technology teams and to help achieve this we have introduced a range of programmes, including our Get Into Tech coding course and our Sky Software Academy and Apprenticeships.

 Sky’s Women in Technology Scholars for 2019 are:

  • Olga Kravchenko (24, Ukrainian): Olga’s VR App Musemio transforms the way children experience culture by using engaging VR elements to educate. She now plans to develop the app so that parents and families can track how their children are learning, whilst also continuing to help cultural institutions improve how they interact with younger digital generations.
  • Colleen Wong (43, British/Canadian): With no technical experience Colleen set-up the successful My Gator Watch. Now, the inspirational mother of two plans to evolve the product from a tracker for kids, to a wearable mobile device for seniors that can track location and detect falls, to help the elderly maintain independence.
  • Rebecca Saw (23, British): Rebecca is looking to create never-before seen interactive story-telling that will mix linear television and gaming to provide viewers with a dynamic blended reality.  She recently worked on Traitor, a VR-live theatre thriller that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival .
  • Mary Murphy (20, Irish): Our youngest Scholar, Mary, alongside her twin sister was a CEO at 16 years old after designing and manufacturing the Sheep Marking Gun to help on her family farm. She will continue to engineer agritech products and develop a new software-based product that could prevent sheep theft .      
  • Rachel Clancy (27, Irish): Rachel is looking to develop a game she has made called ‘Get Closer’, where players open dialogue with a forest creature who needs their help. The game teaches young people how to talk about emotions and support themselves and others through mental health issues.

Sky’s Women in Technology Scholars will receive financial investment and have access to an expert network of mentors and leading industry executives to accelerate their innovation. Following the success of previous years, Sky has increased the number of scholars on the scheme from three to five, emphasising its position that female potential must be supported for the successful and inclusive future of the technology industry.

For more information: https://www.skywomenintechscholars.com/

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Key statistics from Sky’s survey:

  • Boys are 50% more likely than girls to be advised to consider a career in technology
  • 45% of boys have been advised to consider a career in technology versus only 20% of girls
  • Almost half of girls (48%) aged 16 – 18 have discounted a career in technology compared to only a quarter (26%) of boys the same age
  • Girls are three times more likely to think the technology sector is sexist than boys
  • Families are much more likely to support boys pursuing a career in technology than girls (54% vs 41%)

Methodology

  • An online survey, across the UK and Northern Ireland
  • 500 young men and 500 young women aged 16 – 18 
  • 11 questions asked between 28 May – 03 June 2019

Press contact
Sian Parry
Sian.Parry@sky.uk
07585242821

About Sky Women in Technology Scholars
In September 2017 we launched the search for our first Women in Technology Scholars – an exclusive Sky initiative designed to encourage more women to pursue a career in technology. Hannah, Oishi and Kike were successful in securing a place and have spent the past year developing their projects in the areas of Virtual Reality, Machine Learning and an app for Black Young Professionals.

About Sky
With 23.7 million customers across seven countries, Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group.

 We have 31,000 colleagues and together we want to connect our customers to more of what they love, including our award-winning original productions, like Patrick Melrose and Save Me, and great shows from our partners including HBO, Showtime and Warner Bros. And our ever-improving technology makes it even easier for customers to watch more of the shows they love with personalised recommendations and voice control and, our online streaming service, NOW TV, brings all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract free service.

 We treat our customers better than anyone else in our field, as Ofcom’s complaints data shows, and we look after our staff too. Sky is one of The Times Top 50 employers for women and we’re in Stonewall’s list of Top 50 LGBT-Inclusive employers.

 We also use our position as the leading entertainment business in Europe to do the right thing. As part of Sky Ocean Rescue campaign, we’re committing to be completely single-use plastic free by 2020, we’re investing £25million over five years in ocean-saving tech and we’re supporting the WWF to protect our oceans with designated Marine Protected Areas.

MIL OSI Economics