More than 200 Glasgow school children took part in events to honour the world’s first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace. Three business leaders spoke to pupils about their journeys within STEM and the varied career opportunities available for young people in the field.
The occasions celebrated Ada Lovelace Day, which this year has inspired more than 180 events in over 100 towns and cites around the world. Lovelace (1815-1852) was a mathematician and writer, best known for her work on the very first computers and is often regarded as the first computer programmer.
As a teenager her exceptional talents led her to develop a long working relationship with British mathematician Charles Babbage, known as “the father of computers”. She is also credited for writing the world’s first machine algorithm and saw vast potential in how computers could eventually be used.
The Glasgow workshops were delivered by Developing Young Workforce Glasgow in Pirie Park Primary School and Notre Dame High School. Run by Founders4Schools, the workshops initiative aims to celebrate the achievements and raise the profile of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and create new female role models in the field.
Claire Quigley, STEM coordinator at Glasgow Life, and Neil Byers, data and technology manager at Skills Development Scotland, which employs a combined total of 1,284 people in STEM and related fields, spoke at Pirie Park Primary in the South Side of Glasgow to 75 pupils aged 10 to 11.
Ashleigh Cameron, senior digital producer and product manager at After Digital, spoke at Notre Dame High School in the West End of Glasgow. The event was attended by 140 S1 and S2 pupils aged between 12 and 14.
Alison McRae, senior director of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, which hosts DYW Glasgow, said: “The Ada Lovelace Day campaign does vital work raising the profile of successful women in STEM, helping to encourage children and young people to consider a career in this broad subject area.
“The events, delivered by DYW Glasgow in partnership with Founders4Schools, serve to highlight the many varied pathways into STEM subjects, and the diverse range of interesting careers which are available to anyone with an interest in Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering.”
DYW is part of the Scottish Government’s national strategy for reducing youth unemployment by 40% by 2021.