Bridging the gap – industry and academic partnership to create a pathway for young females in STEM

Students from Coláiste Einde in Galway City Adria Gannon, Fainche Joyce, Elena Kenny, and Niamh McGovern with Sally McHugh, University of Galway; Lorna Martyn, Fidelity Ireland Regional Chair and SVP Technology; and Cornelia Connolly, Associate Professor at University of Galway.
Jun 12 2023 Posted: 15:09 IST

Fidelity Investments and University of Galway are delighted to announce the launch of a new partnership that will impact more than 2,500 female students in the next two years.

With females accounting for less than 20% of ICT graduates over the last seven years in Ireland, it is evident that more needs to be done to encourage young females to explore the world of STEM and the career opportunities available to them in this space.

To bridge the gap in the west of IrelandFidelity Investments and University of Galway will work together under a national project to inspire female students to consider working in technology. 

As stated at a recent Oireachtas Education Committee meeting by University of Galway Associate Professor Cornelia Connolly: “Ireland is working to become a digital leader at the heart of European and global development. Digital skills and a flourishing Computer Science education ecosystem are essential to our national digital transformation. To grow our digital economy, Ireland needs an advanced workforce ready to take advantage of the opportunities the transformation will bring.” 

This meaningful industry-academia partnership involving Fidelity Investments and University of Galway will support CodePlus, a nationwide outreach engagement project, involving Trinity College Dublin, Lero/University of Limerick and University of Galway, aimed at overcoming this gender imbalance that exists in Computer Science and ICT courses at third level in Ireland.

Through a range of workshops, company visits, and career talks which take place over a 20-hour program, CodePlus uses interactive learning and real-life experiences to inspire female students to embrace STEM and consider technology and computer science subjects at third level. 

Lorna Martyn, Fidelity Ireland Regional Chair and SVP Technology, shared her thoughts on this exciting new partnership: “CodePlus is an innovative accessible pathway signposting opportunities in Computer Science careers to young women.  It intentionally addresses the gender imbalance in participation across Ireland’s third-level institutions.  As a personal advocate for greater female participation in technology careers and directly aligned to Fidelity Investment’s strategic commitment to education at every level and fostering new diverse talent pipelines, I am thrilled to announce Fidelity’s new two-year partnership with the University of Galway on the CodePlus programme. 

“Presently, only 15% of Irish schools offer Computer Science as a subject, with 22% of females studying the subject in those schools. There is an urgent need to bridge the participation gap and provide equitable, inclusive, and real-world opportunities to encourage young Irish females to be the next generation of technology leaders and innovators.  Fidelity Investments Ireland is looking forward to supporting the programme through company visits, workshops and career talks from female role models working at Fidelity. By providing real-life experiences to the students in partnership with CodePlus, we believe we can have a positive impact on the students’ understanding, outlook, and attitude to careers in STEM and most particularly careers in technology and software engineering.” 

Cornelia Connolly, Associate Professor at University of Galway, said: “Over the past number of years, partnerships with tech companies have been particularly useful in increasing the participant engagement with CodePlus and giving the students an insight to the IT industry. 

“For many of our students, there are few opportunities to visit tech companies and or indeed to meet with female role models working in the industry. This aspect of the programme creates an authentic way for students to see the potential career paths open to them in the field of computing. 

“We are delighted to have Fidelity on board as a partner for the next two years and we are looking forward to working with them to continue to grow and develop the CodePlus project and inspire young females in the West to look at careers in technology as exciting and attainable career opportunities.”


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