St James’ Park hosted a cybersecurity event sponsored by Sage, with the aim of encouraging young girls to enter the industry.
More than 20 different companies organized activities and workshops on Wednesday on topics and issues in the cybersecurity sector.
Sophia Adhami, director of cybersecurity awareness and engagement at Sage, stressed the importance of having more women in these kinds of roles.
“Cybersecurity is a hugely male-dominated industry, as 85% of people working in the industry globally are male. We’ve also seen a huge increase in demand from schools for in-person activities, so it seemed be a great opportunity to inspire girls for future careers in cybersecurity,” she said.
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Some surprising businesses took part in the event, with representatives from the Newcastle Building Society and HM Revenue and Customs alongside North East favorite Greggs. Sophia went on to explain the range of companies involved.
“Every large company has a cybersecurity department. It’s an ever-growing industry that needs an influx of new, young talent to keep growing. The industry is way below where it should be with this, so it’s important that we support diversity and representation with these kinds of events,” she said.
Schools such as Emmanuel College, Haughton Academy and Grace College brought in female students to make the event a huge success, reaching over 300 people.
Ben Aung, chief risk officer at Sage, initially cleared the event to take place and explained the significance of his decision.
“We have an acute gender imbalance in this industry, and I’ve seen both at Sage and in previous jobs how male-dominated the sector is. We also have an acute recruitment problem right now. , so we’ve created jobs and advertised them in a way that will encourage women to apply.
“This event is part of a shift in strategy, aiming to work from the top of the funnel, to inspire young girls to take up careers in cybersecurity and, more immediately, to study computer science at GCSE.
“As the biggest tech company in the UK, it feels a bit like if we don’t do something about it, who will? There is so much untapped cybersecurity potential in the North East and I hope we can build on the success of the event.”