Digital Skills for Women in Manchester has launched!

Unemployed? Want to upgrade your tech skills? Need some help?

MadLab, Manchester Girl Geeks and Manchester Libraries can help you!

Finding a job can be tough, especially if the world has moved on since you were last looking. That’s why three Manchester organisations are joining together to offer IT training for women – for free. The Digital Skills for Women in Manchester workshops, taking place in five libraries from January to July 2013, will equip women with the tools they need in today’s workplace.

The past 12 months have seen wide-ranging cuts in public spending. It is predicted that reductions announced in the spending review will hit women, especially single mothers and female lone pensioners, harder than men. Manchester has also seen the Jobseeker’s allowance claimant count rise since 2008, with levels higher than the national average.

With this project, we aim to reach out to over 100 women in Greater Manchester who are currently not in employment to help them on their way.

There are four courses available:  Basic IT Skills, Social Media, Introduction to Web Development and Introduction to Programming. Participants can choose to take as many of the classes as they like. Not only will the workshops help women increase their opportunities to find employment by arming them with vital technical skills, but they will also increase confidence in their abilities to learn new things. Basic IT skills are essential requirements in today’s workplace, while programming is known to help improve problem solving abilities – another crucial skill in our fast-moving world.

Leading industry figures will run the courses, delivering the most up-to-date and relevant information. They include Liz Hardwick and Darren Jenkinson from DigiEnable, as well as Mike Little, co-founder of WordPress, the world’s most popular free blogging platform.

Each course will consist of three classes (one per week) at three hours each. To help those with children, the classes will run midweek during term time and during school hours (10am-1pm). Free lunch for the participants and a contribution to travel costs will be provided.

In addition to the classes, we will also hold free family days at MadLab, giving participants a hands-on introduction to the world of technology. These one-off sessions will include making multi-sensory ‘brain machines’, putting together and using Arduinos to make a mini theremin, and a robot hack day (turning ‘junk’ electronics into robots). Being introduced to MadLab will allow participants to find out about the community it supports and join one of the 50 free groups on offer and nurture their new interest in IT.

Digital Skills for Women in Manchester is a collaboration between the Manchester Digital Laboratory (, the Manchester Libraries, and Manchester Girl Geeks. The project is funded by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

Great! What do I need to know?




To register for a course, interested applicants are asked to visit our website or contact their nearest library by phone or in person. The libraries taking part are listed below.

Important dates

Information and launch event

Saturday, 19th January 2012. 11am-4pm
MadLab, 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester M4 1HN

Meeting with the project organisers, information about the classes, and hands-on activities running 11am-4pm. Free tea and biscuits will be provided. No registration necessary – just turn up!

Course dates for “Basic IT Skills” class – all classes run 10am to 1pm.

North City Library (taught by Darren Jenkinson)

Tuesday 29 Jan, Tuesday 5 Feb, Tuesday 12 Feb

City Library (taught by Liz Hardwick)

Wednesday 30 Jan, Wednesday 6 Feb, Wednesday 13 Feb

Wythenshawe Forum Library (taught by Liz Hardwick)

Thursday 31 Jan, Thursday 7 Feb, Thursday 14 Feb

Gorton Library (taught by Darren Jenkinson)

Tuesday 26 Feb, Tuesday 5 Mar, Tuesday 12 Mar

Longsight Library (taught by Liz Hardwick):

Tuesday 5 Mar, Tuesday 12 Mar, Tuesday 19 Mar

Further dates will be announced in February!