Increasing female participation and supporting the development of women in the tech sector

Kathryn Cullen, Technology Ireland Software Skillnet
Kathryn Cullen, Technology Ireland Software Skillnet

Technology Ireland Software Skillnet, sponsor of the #WomeninTech Company Initiative of the Year Award at the Technology Ireland Industry Awards, are committed to encouraging more women into the tech and digital sectors, says Kathryn Cullen, Programme director



30 November 2020 | 0

In association with Technology Ireland Software Skillnet

Technology Ireland Software Skillnet is the national talent development network for the software and digital skills sectors. They have created a range of innovative initiatives to support its member companies in their strategic talent development including Digital Learning in TechLEARN and Digital Leadership and Innovation programmes. As part of its Women in Technology suite, it runs Women ReBOOT and Women TechSTART to give professional women a path to join or re-join the sector. These programmes provide technology and professional skills training combined with coaching and mentoring to enable women to take up opportunities in the tech sector following a career break. During Covid-19 all programmes were rapidly transitioned to an online format enabling over 60 participants to continue and graduate.

Companies are increasingly seeing the value of hiring women returners to drive competitiveness, innovation and multi-generational perspectives and many have ambitious goals to increase the number of women in their organisations.




The EU report Women in the Digital Age identified that only 24 out of every 1,000 female tertiary graduates have an ICT-related subject – of which only six go on to work in the digital sector. In addition, up to 70% of female ICT workers will take a career break. With thousands of open ICT roles that will go unfilled over the next two years, the pool of female talent seeking to return to tech provides an opportunity for employers.

These women returners complete a technical refresh through our programmes as well as development of professional skills and coaching and are primed for a return to the tech sector on completion of the programme. Companies need to enable this highly qualified and experienced group to show how fast they can make a valuable contribution to organisations.

Success of Women Returner Programmes

Since 2016 over 200 women have taken part in our two flagship programmes, Women ReBOOT and Women TechSTART. Through our programmes, over 90% of participants progress to full-time, sustainable roles. Many of our alumni have also fast-tracked their careers after returning and have been promoted a number of times.

More than 40 leading tech companies have partnered with Technology Ireland Software Skillnet in the process, participating in programme creation, facilitation, guest speakers and hosting work placements. Companies include Citibank, MasterCard, Dell, VMware, McAfee, Datalex, MongoDB, AWS, WorkHuman and Microsoft.

Women in Technology Award

Technology Ireland Software Skillnet are delighted to sponsor the Women in Tech Company

Initiative of the Year Award for the 28th Annual Technology Ireland Awards. The Women in Technology Company Award recognises companies that have demonstrated a strong commitment to attracting, retaining and developing women across its workforce.

We extend our congratulations to the team at VMware Ireland and well done to all the finalists in this category Fidelity, VMware, Workhuman, Citi and McAfee and encourage companies to continue developing great initiatives support women and increase female participant in the tech sector.

Speaking on winning the award, Ciara McAdam O’Connell, senior business analyst & VMinclusion Ireland POD co-lead, VMware said: “We’re honoured to win this award and for the recognition it gives to all those who strive for diversity and inclusion at VMware Ireland.

“At VMware Ireland, we are focused on driving a culture that is inclusive of all forms of diversity: from demographic factors such as race, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation and age to other critical factors such as function, office location, ability, personality, and life experience.

“In relation to women in tech, our mission is to remove barriers, so women’s voices are heard, and their achievements recognized. We strive to build a culture in which women are comfortable making decisions that advance their skills and careers, and we advocate for equity and greater opportunities for women to learn and lead. We do this through VMinclusion Ireland; our Employee resource group, Talent Acquisition, Mentorship, graduate, and intern programmes to name but a few initiatives at VMware Ireland. Our people are key to what we do at VMware. The people who run and lead these programs are all passionate about implementing new ideas and initiatives that ensure a culture of inclusivity and belonging at VMware and beyond.”

Technology Ireland Software Skillnet is an initiative of Technology Ireland in Ibec, funded by the technology sector and Skillnet Ireland. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Dept of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science

If your company would like to get involved in the Women ReBOOT or Women TechStart programme, please contact Technology Ireland Software Skillnet directly at 

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑