DCMS blog

International Women’s Day: One to Watch

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Ellora James

Creator of Envirocache, and winner of the One To Watch category at the 2017 FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards.

Ellora, aged 16, is a creator of Envirocache, which she designed with her team during the Apps for Good course. Ellora has been working hard to transform her app idea into a reality, and recently won the One To Watch category at the 2017 FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards. 

My inspiration to pursue a career in technology came from a variety of different people and experiences.  I’ve always had an interest in technology, but computing wasn’t a subject that was available in primary school. I always wanted to be a veterinarian, but then taking part in the Apps for Good showed me what computing has to offer and made me realise that I definitely didn’t want to be a vet anymore.

Starting from scratch

My computing teacher at Wick High School, Chris Aitken, has encouraged me in a lot of the things I’ve done. He let me to do Apps for Good in my own time, and let me borrow a Raspberry Pi to take home so I could try out coding in Python on my own. I loved it and after that I was set on a career in computing. Then in 2015 he helped me to apply for Outbox Incubator, where I became inspired to continue working on my Apps for Good app idea Envirocache.

I love that technology has so many different aspects.  There’s the creativity of coming up with a new idea and the more logical steps required to solve a problem. It never gets boring and there’s something for everyone.

A helping hand

When co-founder Mari-Ann Ganson and I decided to continue work on Envirocache, we had no idea where to start.  I knew that my knowledge of coding wasn’t extensive enough at this point to create a professional product, and neither of us were sure about the business side of things. We knew we needed help from professionals in the industry. And we found it in the form of very helpful Trudy Morris from Caithness Chamber of Commerce through their Business Support programme. Trudy’s knowledge and help as been invaluable to us! She put us in touch with a team at Robert Gordon University and the Envirocache project was then funded by an Innovation Voucher.

Seeing our idea come to life and knowing that all our hard work will have paid off when we finally launch the app this year is amazing. We are both so passionate about our idea and will continue to work hard and develop Envirocache, our reward will simply be seeing people use and enjoy the app we have created.

Getting girls into STEM

Around four years ago, I didn’t really understand what computing was. I didn’t know what it involved, what careers it could offer, or it’s relevance to other subjects. I just didn’t think I needed it. I very nearly ignored something that has changed my life and I enjoy so much.

I think we should be encouraging women to study STEM subjects and especially computer science because they are fun, creative and innovative subjects. I don’t want others to miss out on the opportunities I’ve had, and never realise they were good at something because they never thought to try it.

A more equal split of men and women in the workplace is invaluable to how companies and groups tackle problems and businesses could also be missing out on up to 50% of the best talent by not encouraging women into it. But telling women they should study STEM subjects because they are so wonderful alone won’t work. actively working to make sure that opportunities are there, that they are promoted/encouraged and that everybody gets the chance to at least try STEM subjects will ensure no one misses out.

2017 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards

Sharing new experiences

I love sharing my experiences and hopefully inspiring others. I’m so passionate about coding that I love helping others to get their heads around it and see how much fun it can be. And, because I’ve predominantly taught myself, I know what helped me to understand concepts, so I hope that my first hand experience can help others as well.

I’ve kept myself constantly kept busy with school, Envirocache and everything in between. The FDM Everywoman award and recognition is all the motivation I could ever need to continue to work hard and keep going! Knowing that people believe in you and what your doing is an amazing feeling.

I also never take my experiences for granted, yes I do work hard for them, but I’ve been lucky to travel to London and elsewhere as a result of my hard work. I hope to inspire others to make the most of opportunities made available to them and to believe in themselves.

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