Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) and Code First: Girls (CF: G) announced a partnership to help 20,000 women in the UK code by 2020, as part of the Code First: Girls 20:20 Campaign.
Through their involvement in the campaign, BofAML will provide financial support, and their technologists will help train CF: G students. Training will also be rolled out to the bank’s own female employees who are interested in learning to code. This will open up other career opportunities for these women, and will enhance their understanding of the ways in which technology applies to their existing roles.
BofAML’s commitment to CF: G’s 20:20 campaign builds on a strong partnership forged over four years that enables the company’s employees to leverage their skills to act as volunteer CF: G instructors and as technology ambassadors. The two companies recently completed a joint FinTech mentoring programme, which saw 15 of BofAML’s senior female technologists mentor 12 young women and teach them about the broad range of careers that are available in technology in the financial services sector.
The UK’s tech sector is one of the fastest-growing globally, with London accounting for around 80 percent of all venture capital tech funding last year . In this context, it is no surprise that technology is at the core of BofAML’s business: almost half the company’s EMEA workforce and 85 percent of its Chester workforce are assigned Technology and Operations roles. Through this campaign, BofAML is hoping to give even more young women the aspirations, skills and confidence to pursue a Technology career, and create a strong pipeline of female talent for business-critical positions.
This expanded partnership comes at a time of stark underrepresentation for women in the UK’s technology sector. According to the UK Office of National Statistics’ most recent figures, in 2017, only 3.9 percent of tech and telco professionals in the UK were female programmers and software developers.
Commenting on the expanded partnership, Allison Krill, head of EMEA Global Banking and Markets Technology at BofAML, said: “Technology innovation is key to driving transformation within business, but the need for diverse technical talent is not yet met by the number of qualified people entering the workforce. We are therefore very proud to be supporting Code First: Girls 20:20 campaign. Our employees look forward to working closely with the participants to share their knowledge, skills and advice to help bridge the gap for early career switchers into tech.”
Amali de Alwis, CEO of CF: G, said: “We are excited to build on our existing partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The lack of tangible role models for women looking to build a career in tech creates a psychological barrier to entry, and through this partnership, we are working hard to put an end to that. We look forward to working with them to both build and tap into a talent pool of incredible women looking to develop their careers in tech, as well as to help women understand what tech-oriented careers are available to them. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is an innovative company committed to diversity, and shares many common goals with our organisation. We are delighted to have them on board.”