Inspiring the Next Generation of Technologists by Preserving History
Bletchley Park in the UK holds a significant place in history, not only as the location where the enigma code was cracked during World War II, but also as the birthplace of the first computer – the Colossus.
The Bletchley Park Trust works to keep the history of the site alive and transmit to current and future generations the experience and values of those who worked there. Jo Hannaford, head of the Technology Division for EMEA, was drawn to the Trust’s vision of enhancing society’s understanding of cryptography, technology and innovation.
“The significance and legacy of Bletchley Park drew me to work with the Trust. It’s an amazing organization whose history we hope will inspire future generations to explore coding and technology,” said Jo.
Jo became closely involved with the Bletchley Park Trust, partnering their Disadvantaged Schools Education Programme whose missions is to expose underprivileged children to the opportunities for careers in computing. Through Jo’s support as a trustee of the Trust, the programme has expanded to hire a full-time education officer to run the programme throughout the UK, visiting schools and showing children the value of coding and technology. Since 2016 the programme has reached over 1300 children, using the famous enigma machine to teach children skills like codebreaking and mathematical encryption.
For Jo, her involvement is derived from her passion to encourage more young people to study, work or explore their interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. In her role at Goldman Sachs, Jo supports a number of firmwide programmes to encourage young people to study STEM subjects, including the Girls in IT programme, supported by the European Women in Technology network founded by Jo and other female colleagues 15 years ago.
“It is so important that we encourage young people to study STEM subjects and pursue careers in STEM. We do a great deal around this at Goldman Sachs and I’m now very focussed on extending my efforts beyond the firm and reaching new people with this message.”