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I was honoured to be invited along to the Scotland Women in Technology Awards to personally present the SDS award for Secondary School Teacher of the Year to Kelly MacDonald who leads the computing department at Harris Academy.

It’s fantastic to see (and be at) an event that champions and celebrates women who are achieving such success in Scotland’s technology sector.

But as importantly for me, it’s also great to see something that celebrates the success of those in education who drive grassroots initiatives, and grow the young tech talent in our country.

Teachers play a crucial role in determining the future career paths of young people. That’s why I was delighted to present this award, which rewards the extra effort any teacher goes to in persuading young women to seek out the great career opportunities in digital and IT.


"All the teachers who were nominated are an inspiration to us all....we need more teachers like them, as much as we need more women to join Scotland’s tech industry"

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister

The Scottish Government recognises digital as one of the country’s eight growth industries, and the demand for skilled professionals is continuing to soar - it’s estimated that we require around nearly 13,000 new entrants into the sector each year.

With so many quality jobs available, we need young women (more than ever) to join and make a career for themselves in this industry, and teachers are instrumental in getting those talented young women into these jobs.

However, encouraging more females to enter tech will do so much more than just increase the pool of talent. It will also help lift the overall skills standard and improve development rates. Furthermore, research suggests that gender equality in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) would add over £170 million annually to the country’s economy.

Kelly, Primary School winner Ruth Burnett from Bishopton Primary and all the other teachers who were nominated in these categories, are an inspiration to us all. We need more teachers like them as much as we need more women to join Scotland’s tech industry.

And a big part of that drive includes celebrating the success of women already working in this arena, so I congratulate SWIT on their sterling efforts, and applaud all the sponsors for getting involved, including SDS.

I can’t wait to see what Kelly and Ruth go on to achieve as they continue to promote technology as a career for young women, and what SWIT goes on to achieve following these inaugural awards.


"Kelly Macdonald has had a positive impact with the majority of the school’s digital ambassadors now being girls. She has also built positive relationships with local colleges, universities and industry, and has helped pupils take part and win numerous technology inter school competitions."

SWIT Judges

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