AN army of female tech workers and digital students are to be recruited to help more schoolgirls get into the industry.

Women mentors will be sent into Scotland’s classrooms to help address the gender gap in the digital technology sector.

The project is part of an action plan developed in response to new research which found that women make up just 18 per cent of the workforce, with the gender gap in the talent pipeline starting at school.

The Tackling the Technology Gender Gap Together report found female tech role models and mentors could help young girls to see their future career in the industry.

The Girl Geek Scotland network will now send out women who are “inspirational, credible, and close enough in age to their audience that young girls can relate to them” as ambassadors on behalf of Skills Development Scotland and the Digital Technology Skills Group, which commissioned the research.

This could include both young women already in the sector and others still studying.

The organisation is now recruiting both would-be mentors and appealing to schools, colleges, universities and tech employers to help plan its work through surveys about existing initiatives and gaps in provision.

The results will be used to create a directory of mentoring activities and best practice case studies as the Scottish Government works on its target to make the country a “world-class digital nation” within three years.

Evelyn Walker, of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and the Digital Technology Skills Group, said: “Role models and mentors are an incredibly valuable way of communicating just how much is possible if young people choose to embark on a computing science qualification. They can also show that there is a range of routes into the industry including IT work experience, modern apprenticeships, internships and graduate programs.

“It’s really important that students and younger members of the workforce get involved with these projects. For that to happen we also need employers to recognise the value of giving staff time out of the office to take part.

“I know from my own experience that participation in such schemes helped with my professional development and volunteers can learn a lot to help with their own career aspirations.”