Amazon Web Services ( AWS) Get IT Challenge


Women in IT Awards London - The World's Largest Tech Diversity Event

Two Year 8 students from Townley were privileged to be invited to share the stage with Amazon Web Services, Managing Director, Gavin Jackson at the Women in IT Awards on Wednesday 30th January, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. 

With 1,200 business and technology leaders in attendance, the fifth annual Women in IT Awards on 30 January 2019 was the largest technology diversity event ever staged in the world.  Its aims are to celebrate and recognise achievements by women in the technology industry.  

Organised by business-technology magazine Information Age, the Women in IT Awards has gathered resounding support from trade associations, politicians and companies of all sizes and sectors since launching in 2015.

Ortis and Georgie from the Gadget Show hosted the 2019 ceremony, with keynote speeches from Niki Dowdall the managing director of Bonhill Group, a brilliant speech from English National Netball Head Coach Tracey Neville, MBE and Gavin Jackson Managing Director at Amazon Web Services.


Townley students Sofia and Charlotte, went on stage with the AWS MD, to speak about their experience in being involved with the AWS GET IT App Challenge.  The girls were selected as they were part of a working group of students who visited the AWS offices in Shoreditch and attended the APP Challenge Bootcamp in December.

Townley’s Computing Department has been working with Future Foundations in association with AWS in a Schools Computing Challenge for Year 8, whereby teams of students can design an app that tackles or solves a problem in their school or local area.  Each school can submit up to 7 teams.  The purpose of the challenge is to inspire young people, girls especially to get into IT and gain digital skills. AWS are leading the way in creating a bridge which links schools to the tech industry. 

During the evening Charlotte and Sofia were invited up onto the stage to speak with Gavin and in front of over 1,000 people to say how they felt in taking part on the AWS Challenge.  The girls’ responses to Gavin’s questions were not only thoughtful but extremely inspiring and showed how much the students have grown since taking part in the competition.  The exposure they have had in speaking to IT industry experts as well as their own thought process in looking at how technology influences our everyday lives were mature and inspiring.

The girls were fantastic ambassadors for Townley and to speak so eloquently and positively in front of so many people about their experience in taking part in the AWS Challenge, is a real reflection of the values Townley tries to impart to all its students.

As Gavin Jackson, MD for Amazon Web Services said on Twitter “Such a pleasure working with these two super heroes.  Pretty sure I’ll be working for them someday.” To get such positive feedback from an industry professional is confirmation how well both girls contributed to the event.

  Earlier on in the day the girls had the opportunity to attend an afternoon tea event hosted by AWS where students were able to listen to female IT professionals who had been shortlisted for an award.  This informal networking session really give the 6 students an insight into potential careers in tech.  Sofia and Charlotte were interviewed during the day to help prepare them for their debut in the evening.

 Charlotte, Year 8

"I enjoyed the day enormously, the afternoon tea was lovely and what I liked was there were lots of different women from different backgrounds all working in the tech industry.  I enjoyed talking to them about my experience on the AWS Get IT App Challenge and it was great to get their feedback on what they thought about my team's App.  Plus I realised that you can be anything you want to be as long as you work hard.  The dinner was amazing and speaking on stage was such a great experience, it has definitely made me think about considering a career in tech as a future possibility.  Thank you to everyone involved for such a great opportunity."


Sophia, Year 8

In the evening I was given the opportunity to answer questions on stage in front of inspirational people in the tech industry which has changed my view on technology forever.  Getting up on that stage was very tough as I have not done something like that before.  Whilst on stage, I spoke about how I felt about technology and what I learnt through this event to which I am forever grateful.  Overall, I loved the experience and will remember it forever.  I would love to do it again."

A huge thank you to the team at Future Foundations and at Amazon Web Services for this awesome opportunity!  Thank you for looking after the staff and students who attended the Afternoon Tea Event and the Dinner, the effort and teamwork that went into making this such a successful event really shone through!

Good luck to all the schools taking part in the Get IT Challenge and looking forward to the next round! Finals take place at the AWS Summit in May.

Mrs Sargeant

Computing Department











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