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Grantham mother and former Southwell school teacher says ‘tech industry needs more women’ through her work as only Code First Girls Ambassador in Lincolnshire

A former teacher moved into the technology world and is now an ambassador to empower other women to join the industry.

Katie Papworth from Grantham was a maths teacher at The Minster School in Southwell for six years until she had her daughter in lockdown.

After her maternity leave, she went back for six months but decided it no longer fitted into her life.

Katie Papworth from Grantham.
Katie Papworth from Grantham.

“I had to choose between being a good teacher or being a good mum. The answer was obvious,” said Katie.

She looked into jobs with flexible hours and came across Code First Girls, a social enterprise that provides free coding courses to women.

After taking a six-week course in Python programming, she did another 14-week course and was offered a job as a database administrator and was eventually promoted to a database engineer.

This year, she was made a Code First Girls ambassador, empowering women to kick start their career in technology and eliminate the industry’s diversity gap.

She is one of around 50 ambassadors across the country and is the only one in Lincolnshire.

Katie said: “I feel like the tech industry needs more women. It needs more diversity and the more women that can be there, the more it can improve.

“By improving diversity in the workforce, the ideas get better.”

A Tech Nation report revealed in 2023 that women only made up 26% of the tech workforce in the UK.

Katie’s workforce is made up of around 70% of men, but she said “some companies have it much worse”.

With her work with Code First Girls, she said it is “really great to spread the word about what they do”.

She added: “They changed my life and it’s so flexible, better pay and less stress.

“It’s nice to talk to people about the courses and when they take a course, it’s great to see them potentially looking into getting a job in tech.

“We have meet ups throughout the year and we discuss what the women are doing, what they like and what they don’t like.

“We are their eyes and ears and then feedback to Code First Girls.

“It’s about growing our presence on how it’s impacting our lives and just spreading the word for women to get into tech.”

Code First Girls launched in 2012 and has delivered over £75 million worth of free courses to over 150,000 women.

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