Please indicate if your Initiative is an Established Initiative.
Code Like a Girl
Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
Cofounder & COO
Vanessa Doake & Ally Watson
Cofounders of Code Like a Girl
Overview - Provide a summary to introduce the project or initiative
Code Like a Girl’s Internship Program offers a unique opportunity for women of all ages and backgrounds to enter into the world of tech. It’s the only program of its kind in Australia, warmly welcoming the future minds of tech into an impressive network of industry leaders. Co-founders Ally Watson and Vanessa Doake implemented the internship program as an all-inclusive route to diversifying the industry. Acknowledging a serious shortage of female thinkers and leaders in tech, CLG is making waves to restructure the present and future of the field one woman at a time. The CLG internship program provides real-world experience as well as a carefully curated mentorship component for participants, in order to set the stage for as much support and success as possible. There is an undying commitment to partnering with mission-aligned companies, exclusively placing interns under the wings of notable institutions that champion gender equality and social justice in the workplace. CLG welcomes applicants of all socio-economic, educational, and employment backgrounds, encouraging each individual to dive in with an open mind. There are countless roles in tech and CLG works meticulously to pair the right person with the right opportunity. Flexible schedules, terms, and hands-on experience, one-on-one mentorship, and an overall encouraging environment make the program uniquely accessible and profoundly rewarding.
How would you say diversity is embraced within your organisation or sector? Are there diversity initiatives in place or are diversity approaches new to your sector?
As an organisation, Code Like a Girl is built on the foundations of diversity, social justice, and gender equality. This unswerving commitment is reflected not only in the internship program, but also in the company’s mission and vision at large. The Australian tech industry suffers from a dramatic imbalance in gender involvement. Not only is there a severely insufficient female presence in the tech workforce, but there is also a 20% industry pay gap that favors men in tech. This is a reflection of the disparity of positions held as well as the sheer lack of recruitment and encouragement in the female direction. CLG is here to change that, one woman at a time. With a unique and holistic approach to supporting individuals at all stages of their personal and professional journey, the company has created an unprecedented push toward tipping the scale in the direction of gender equality. The goal is to create a professional climate that values potential on an individual level and acknowledges the need for change on a global scale.
Detail the approach that was taken to implement the project or initiative, what actions were taken and why?
Apart from the previously discussed disparities in the tech industry, we realized that there was a severe lack in programming to encourage participation and effect ultimate change. As it stood, there were only two options for an interested individual to enter the tech force. One could study computer science or something of the sort at university, resulting in internships and job opportunities upon graduation. The other route was to enrol in private instruction or an online bootcamp of sorts, both of which proved to be extremely time-consuming and financially prohibitive. There was no avenue in place for an intelligent, mid-career woman to make a career change in the direction of tech. Armed with this injustice, CLG set out to create an internship program without barriers, welcoming all ages and backgrounds to find their voice in the industry. The program is fuelled by the passion of its founders and participants alike. The commitment to setting up individuals with the skills and tools to succeed is at the center of each intern’s placement and ultimate career success. In a few short years, CLG’s internship program has gained notoriety and trust among participants, professionals, and industry leaders. An exceptional commitment to diversity and inclusion continues to drive the program’s advancement and CLG’s industry impact at large.
Demonstrate the leadership shown in driving the initiative and fostering behavioural and organisational change.
Code Like a Girl co-founders Ally and Vanessa have exhibited tremendous leadership in their undertaking of the CLG internship program. Without any government support or industry funding, they have developed a thoughtful and successful initiative that is creating opportunity and effecting change in the world of tech. Their collaboration with industry leaders and educational institutions has elevated the program and created a real conversation about the existing imbalances. CLG has tirelessly ensured that each and every partnership reflects their advocacy of social justice and gender equality, raising the bar for like-minded enterprises on a national level. A steadfast commitment to both ethical and technical training continues to generate confidence in the women that graduate the program. Swinburne University ICT Manager Andrew Roadknight reflects on his experience with CLG here. “Partnering with Code Like a Girl and seeing the effort they are putting into their goals of creating a more inclusive, supported environment for women in STEM is amazing. The initiative of creating an internship program with industry partners to give applicants a real opportunity to succeed is nothing short of inspiring and incredibly motivating.”
Was there organisational/industry or other resistance to the initiative? If so, detail the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative.
Overall, the program has been very well-received by the tech industry. The incubation of the internship program developed as a natural extension of Code Like a Girl’s other initiatives. CLG’s experience and success surrounding their networking events, coding workshops, junior coding camps, and other offerings all informed the dire need for a new way for women to enter the industry. Drawing from an urge to connect the female community with an accessible and inclusive opportunity to get involved in tech, CLG created the first internship program of its kind in Australia. Alongside the advancements have been numerous challenges, but Ally and Vanessa have powered through them in the name of diversity. The best problem of all has been the positive press, which has encouraged CLG to live up to the accolades no matter how insurmountable some of the roadblocks have seemed. What seemed like a practical timeline to get the program off the ground became impossible due to the bureaucracy of the partnerships, so patience was a virtue during the beginning months. Additionally, many of the organisations that showed interest in joining forces turned out to be in it for the wrong reasons. CLG quickly learned how imperative the screening and alignment of partnerships would be if they were going to create real change. The amount of interest from women who were eager to get involved was exciting, but also rather overwhelming given the individualized nature of the program and the impossibility of curating a successful journey for so many applicants at once. It was a difficult realization to say “no” to these companies and “please be patient” to these women, when CLG set out to generate as many “techies” as possible. Overall though, CLG is beyond proud of the program and the momentum it’s building on a national level.
Detail the follow up or response to the project or initiative by the organisation /industry /sector. For example has it been extended for a further year, or has the scope been expanded?
The CLG internship program is here to stay. The positive response and successes on both an individual and industry level have proven the necessity and importance of the program. Because of this reality, CLG is continually working to expand the program’s reach and ameliorate the careers of as many women as possible. What started out as a passion project for Ally and Vanessa has grown into an industry force, and the waves are beginning to present opportunities for women on a national level. Two of CLG’s most powerful partners in this program have been Mantel Group and Swinburne University. With their help, the scope of the internships has expanded to the realm of real-world apprenticeships, supporting applicants with formal training and bountiful opportunities for employment upon completion. In just four months, eight female interns have been hired by notable tech companies in Sydney and Melbourne. The most exciting part of their combined success is not the fact that they are diversifying the tech industry (although that’s very exciting), but more so the diversity within these eight powerful women. Hailing from four different countries, they are college students, a mother who returned to work and hadn’t previously been able to find an organisation where she could relearn and upskill, and a mid-career changer with no IT background before CLG. Mantel Group’s Head of People and Culture, Caroline Henshaw, acknowledges the importance of CLG’s internship program here: “As a new organisation that is hugely passionate about creating a diverse workforce and giving opportunities to those who may not usually get them, Code Like a Girl has been an awesome partner for us. Code Like a Girl’s internship program is a positive and effective step towards creating a tech pipeline of diverse talent. Given its success, we are partnering with Code Like a Girl to extend and build on the internship to create greater development, training and support opportunities and we expect to continue to build on this even further, with further opportunities with our clients. We are really excited and have strong ambitions for where we can take the program, in partnership with Code Like a Girl”
Please provide 2 references being the beneficiaries or people that experienced the change (as a result of the initiative). Details to be provided should include:
4. Phone number
6. Short description (up to 250 words) of association with the nominated diversity initiative eg as a beneficiary, experiencing the outcome, etc.
Name: Alina Vdovychenko
Organisation : IAG
Role: Application developer
“I’ve been interested in the IT industry ever since I saw a computer for the first time (a very long time ago). I was hooked from that moment on and I dreamed of becoming an IT specialist one day, but I unfortunately didn’t have the courage, opportunity and support to take that path. That all changed the day I attended my first Code Like a Girl meet-up. I was inspired as I listened to the motivational words of the women who shared my passion and who had achieved real success in the IT industry. Since that day, my life has changed significantly. I felt so encouraged and excited by my exposure to the women at CLG and I made a decision to follow my heart and get involved in tech. I immediately applied to the TAFE Programming course and six months later to CLG’s Internship Program. Now I’m an Application Developer at IAG, a position I landed as a direct result of my internship and a reality that I couldn’t have imagined before that first meet-up. I am beyond thankful to CLG for providing me and my fellow women an opportunity to dive into the world of IT, to work alongside industry professionals at a leading company, and to thoroughly develop my skills all along the way in an encouraging and educational environment. I am currently expanding my technical knowledge not only in my workplace, but also during CLG intern sessions, where we are invited to learn programming languages and exchange our experiences. I believe that CLG’s Internship Program is an extremely valuable and important asset for the women who participate. It inspires, encourages, supports and promotes women’s involvement in tech and manifest career goals into realities. Take it from me.”
Name: Kerrie Dyson
Phone number: 0411013527
Role: Executive Manager, Policy Systems
A partnership with Code Like a Girl offers IAG a great opportunity to increase diversity across technology teams and provides a flexible entry point for females who are passionate about a career in technology. IAG provides interns with six months of industry experience within one of our various technology teams and there is a further opportunity for interns to convert to a permanent role at the successful completion of the internship.
IAG has benefitted from the program in many ways, including:
(i) access to a diverse pool of female technologists
(ii) support from an organisation committed to growing female talent within technology
(iii) introducing diversity of thought into our technology teams
(iv) building future workforce capability
IAG have established a strong and beneficial partnership with Code Like a Girl and are delighted with the aptitude and talent of the current interns.
What outcomes have been achieved against overall program or organisational performance? Using metrics specify these outcomes, for example financial, growth, policy achievement, performance or capabciltiy uplift?
CLG’s internship program is too young to gauge in terms of metric success, but there has certainly been major momentum in the direction of diversifying the tech industry. In just 7 months, four hundred women and fifty organisations have applied to be a part of the internship initiative. CLG has partnered with seven organisations and matched eight of these women with paid internships with a competitive salary of $50-60K annually.
What do you consider your significant achievement with this Initiative and why?
There have been many success stories in the short amount of time CLG’s internship program has been active. The most significant, though, has been providing a previously uncharted opportunity for women to enter a technical role. Working with notable organisations to challenge industry standards, improve conditions, and implement policies and processes to promote equality has been ultimately rewarding and encouraging for CLG’s broader mission to diversify the industry on a national level.
Who inspires you from a diversity perspective? Who provides leadership in diversity and why?
Co-founders Ally and Vanessa find motivation and inspiration in industry leader Diane Greene. As one of the most influential individuals in tech over the last 20 years, she holds the company of a male-dominated group of impressive leaders and thinkers, relentlessly holding her own in the ranks of innovation and achievement. Her diverse educational background and countless IT accomplishments have set her apart as one of the best, which inspires the CLG women to worker harder and smarter everyday. Diane’s involvement in tech was inspired by her father, who worked at NASA, exposing her to engineering and encouraging her to get involved. CLG recognizes the importance of a role model and strives to emulate such support and advocacy in its mentorship aspect of the program. Because of pioneers like Diane, Ally and Vanessa are more determined than ever to address industry imbalance and diversify the tech world one woman at a time.