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Date Posted: 30/03/2023 | Posted In: Careers, Computer Science and IT

Students from The Sixth Form Bolton were delighted to welcome a number of national employers and universities for an inspirational Women into Computer Science, IT and Digital Technology event.   Digital Technologies is one of the fasted growing industries with hundreds of thousands of jobs currently being creating in the North West alone.

The Sixth Form welcomed on campus inspirational female leaders from key employers including Microsoft, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard, Intapp and Bupa, as well as Salford, Bolton and Liverpool John Moores universities.

The event included a number of insightful presentations, speed networking with employers and universities, and a workshop on the latest technologies such as ChatGPT.  The students got to have all their industry questions answered, as well as quiz the women on their experiences of being female in male dominated careers.

Alex Wilkinson, Head of Local and Regional Government (North) at Microsoft, spoke to the all-female group about her journey into digital technologies, the range of exciting careers specially within Microsoft, and how imperative it is for strong females to rise up in the industry.  Alex, who is from Bolton and a former pupil of Canon Slade School, is an ambassador for change, championing inclusivity and women’s rights in the workplace. 

Speaking of the event, Alex said, “I’m delighted to be here today to share my story and experiences.  Digital Technologies is the fasted growing sector in Europe with Greater Manchester being the hub, there are currently over 850,000 job vacancies in Greater Manchester alone”.

Speaking of her experience of being a female leader in the industry, Alex said “The current workforce within digital is less then 25% female, this needs to change. The possibilities for these talented young women are endless, and I hope they take away from today that they can be anything they aspire to be, it just takes hard work, resilience and commitment”.

Representing Fujitsu at the event was former The Sixth Form Bolton student Shana Patel.  Shana is currently working as a Software Developer at the multinational company as she completes the first year of her degree apprenticeship.

Shana, a former Essa Academy pupil, was inspired to go into digital technologies thanks to the advice and guidance from the Sixth Form careers team.  Shana offered some words of advice to the current Sixth Form students, “Please don’t think digital is all about coding and programming, it’s absolutely not.  I’m involved in so many exciting projects, including building, testing, and developing old and new systems.  Recently, I have been involved in Metaverse projects, looking at and developing the technologies of the future.  It’s really exciting and engaging.”

Thinking of her experiences as young female in the industry, Shana said, “Currently in the team I am one of 3 females out of a team of 25.  I feel it’s important to have more women in the industry as we think differently, we see things from a differ perspective, this is particularly important when testing and developing products.”

As well as this key event, the Sixth Form is proud to run a Women into Leadership Programme, a bespoke programme designed to engage and inspire the next female leaders of the future. Find out what happened in last year’s programme here.