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The government is extending a pilot after-schools programme which aims to keep more young women interested in a career in the IT industry.

The "Computer Club for Girls" is run by e-skills UK. It aims to use fashion, music and celebrities to keep the attention of girls and improve their skills. The service is targeted at girls aged between 10 and 14 - typically the age they lose interest in technology even if they have shown an interest earlier.

Skills minister Phil Hope said: "Just one in five ICT workers are women and this figure is falling. It is good news that we are now able to offer Computer Clubs for Girls to schools across the UK." Hope said e-skills UK is developing "exciting online material".

All the schools which took part in the pilot reported pupils have higher levels of confidence since taking part. The next step is improving courses for students over 14.

The minister called on business to support the scheme by donating hardware or software and by identifying role models for girls.

The technology industry has a poor track record in attracting female applicants. The University of Derby started a campaign after realising that it had no female applicants for its computer gaming degree.

More details here. ®

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