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East Midlands Chamber News

App-a-thon Guinness World Record Attempt

Derby College will be part of a Guinness World Record attempt for the largest number of people simultaneously learning to code an Android app.

The event is being run by BCSWomen, part of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. The record attempt will be held on Saturday 13 June at a number of locations across the UK.

Gillian Arnold, Chair of BCSWomen said: “Within the IT profession, there is a real skills shortage in the UK that we need to address now.

"The BCSWomen App-a-thon event is a great way for lots of people to learn how to code at the same time, engage with those who are considering a career in IT and give every generation an opportunity to try their hand at coding.”

The event aims to break the record, but also to encourage young people, particularly girls, to consider a career in IT.

A recent BCS survey of IT professionals found that 79% believe the profession would benefit from having more women working in it. Currently, women account for just 16% of IT professionals; a figure that has fallen significantly in recent years.

Gillian added: “It is imperative that we encourage more women to enter the IT profession. Women and girls are massive users of technology however, they don’t realise they could be part of the profession that generates that technology. This is a real issue. We need to appeal to young girls and women and get them involved.

"IT is at the heart of everything we do these days; this is only going to continue to grow therefore the opportunities are almost limitless. It’s a profession that women are good at. We just need to encourage more women to be part of it.”

The event at Derby College will be led by Rebena Sanghera, Lecturer in Computing and a member of BCSWomen who will teach participants how to build Android apps using MIT AppInventor. The sessions will be a mixture of talks, activities and hands-on coding.

Derby College Director of Enterprise and Innovation Louise Curd added: "Derby is the UK's top high-tech city so it is very appropriate that this event is held here. This will be a fantastic opportunity to encourage more young women into this area of work and to support such a growing industry in the city, and beyond."