Atom Bank, the UK’s first app-based bank, is supporting the ‘Women in Technology’ programme at Durham University by funding two scholarships for prospective female students from low-income backgrounds.
Two Atom-funded scholarships will offer successful applicants £4,000 per annum for all three years of their course at Durham, as Atom and the University seek to inspire future female tech leaders.
Alongside funding the scholarships, Atom will provide mentoring, internship, placement and leadership opportunities to the successful applicants. The bank revealed that it is particularly keen that the scholars also help the University and Atom to promote tech to women and girls across schools and colleges in the North East.
According to Tech Nation, women only represent around 26 per cent of the tech workforce in the UK, while women take just five per cent of leadership roles in technology, highlighting the scale of the challenge and the need for focused initiatives such as this.
In the 2024 Complete University Guide, Durham’s department of computer science ranked fourth for its teaching and joint fourth for the employability of its students. The department has a stated objective of making Durham the number one University in the UK for women to study computer science.
Atom’s support reflects this commitment and is the latest element of a wider programme of cooperation between the bank and the University under their five-year partnership.
‘Targeting the next generation of leaders for Atom’
Edward Twiddy, director of ESG at Atom, explained the decision to support the Women in Technology programme in this way: “Through this funding, we are unashamedly targeting the next generation of leaders for Atom and for the technology businesses of the future.
“Applications for the scholarships are now open, and we are really excited at the prospect of meeting the people who we hope will lead Atom in the future through their engagement in this programme.”
As well as being a signatory of the Tech Talent Charter, Atom also played a major role in supporting Durham University in establishing the Diversity Matters project, promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in STEM across industry and academia. The bank was also one of the sponsors of the highly successful Tech Up programme that Durham University’s Professor Sue Black pioneered with the support of the Institute of Coding.
Professor Matthew Johnson, head of the department of computer science at Durham, also added: “We are grateful to Atom Bank for their generous support as we strive to increase the reach of the highly successful AMI scholarship programme. Their contribution will help us to foster greater participation of talented women in our undergraduate degree programmes. The underrepresentation of women in the field poses a significant barrier to innovation.
“Our department is committed to not only creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, but also one that is vibrant, diverse, and thriving. The scholars participating in this program are called upon to serve as ambassadors for the department. Consequently, the impact of these scholarships extends beyond their recipients, influencing and inspiring a broader spectrum of students.”