8 March 2017
Continuing the takeover of the blog for International Women’s Day, Arlene shares her experience of inspiring the next generation of women in tech…
Happy International Women’s Day!
A day to celebrate all of the fantastic achievements of women around the world.
I think every day should be a day to celebrate all of the fantastic achievements of women around the world! Luckily for me, I belong to a business where achievements and success are celebrated every day, no matter what gender you are.
I joined UKFast nearly 4 years ago and haven’t looked back. I love being a woman in tech, but I really just love being in tech! I work in a business that is on the cutting edge of technology and innovation, and strives for excellence in every area. Every day I am encouraged and pushed to go farther and get out of my comfort zone. This is the case for everyone here and I am proud to work in a business with success as the minimum expectation for all.
Although women are under-represented in our technical teams, we are well represented all across the business and at board level. But really, it’s just not an issue for us. We are a team, working hard, supporting each other and delivering world class services for our clients. We don’t think in terms of male and female; we think in terms of excellence, passion and the right person for the job!
In my role I have the privilege of supporting and developing the team across the business with a focus on our apprentices; we started with four apprentices and have grown to 50! We started a mission to highlight the amazing opportunities for young people in the tech industry and somewhere along the way we realised that girls needed a lot more information and exposure to our industry.
We started to seek out amazing all-girls schools who were equally as innovative and we have swung open our doors to help to dispel the ‘geeky boys’ notion that they relate to the IT industry. We are honoured to work with the likes of Alderley Edge School for Girls (we host a UKFast Code Club here for years 3-6!) and Manchester High School for Girls. We now have girls in these schools considering careers in technology and engineering thanks, in some part, to interaction with companies like us!
So, it’s natural on IWD to think about the amount of women in our industry and the balance we need. As a business we are solution focused as opposed to problem focused (that’s how we started 17 years ago!) so all we can think about is how can we encourage more young women to consider technology as a career and apprenticeships as an alternative to university. It’s a long-term plan but we can see that we are already making an impact and in true UKFast fashion, we never do anything by halves!