Influential Women from the Digital and Technology Sectors Deliver Trailblazing Event at B6

Last week The Sixth Form’s female students were invited to take part in a fantastic event facilitated by several women leaders from across the digital and technology sector.

The event was run in conjunction with The Sixth Form’s Women into Leadership Programme, a platform to enable the female learners to access support, advice and guidance from a wide range of fantastic women leaders. A group from Tottington High School also joined event the event and worked alongside The Sixth Form students.

The visitors came from organisations including the BBC, BJSS, Bolton Council, HPE, Liverpool John Moores University, MBDA, Microsoft, Salford University and Zoho shared their knowledge, experience and career journeys with the students.

The day began with a welcome by Keynote Speaker: Abbie Lowe, Account Client Technology Officer from Microsoft. Nat Stokes, a Technical Producer from the BBC, then spoke to the group about how she progressed from her Vocational Music course at college to working on events such as the Ibiza Weekender and Glastonbury for the BBC.

The students then had the opportunity to take part in a ‘speed dating’ exercise where they were able to meet the visitors and ask them about their careers. Emma Barnes and Yusuf Lorgat from the BBC Information Security team; Karen Miccoli and Sarah Markham from BJSS; Lou Heslop-Coleman, a Programme Manager and Dawn Foster, an Assistant Technology Solution Partner, both from Bolton Council;  Ruth Maycock, a Presales Consultant from HPE; Dr Áine MacDermott, a Senior Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University; Amy Owen, a Manufacturing Digital Systems Manager and Emma Larkin, a Technical Administrator both from MBDA; Abbie Lowe from Microsoft; Atefeh Tate from Salford University and Daria Deresheva, a Software Engineer from Zoho all contributed to this activity.

After a working lunch where the students were able to network further, Abbie Lowe, from Microsoft, then delivered a practical activity exploring the world of AI and tasking the students with creating an app that utilises AI. The apps that the students presented included ones for period advice and a B6 Bot. The winning team presented an idea for a Food-I app which would help users track their calories and identify which foods are suitable for different dietary requirements.

The event was very well received and the contributors and students all found it to be very beneficial.

Abbie Lowe said:

'Empowering young women and showcasing the opportunities available within technology is crucial. The Bolton Sixth Form programme is dedicated to shaping the future of these young women by introducing them to potential careers within various fields. The event was a tremendous success, with the girls fully engaged and collaborating effectively. By providing this experience, we hope to inspire and encourage more young women to pursue their passions in technology.'

And Maryam Qureshi, a second-year Triple Health and Social Care student said:

As I’m not studying any tech or IT related subjects, I wanted to get more information about how I can get into the area. Hearing from people in the industry who don’t have a background or degree in technology made me realise I can do it as well. It was a really informative and inspiring event.

Sandra McManus, Deputy Principal at The Sixth Form, who organised the day was delighted with how successful the event had been said:

What a fantastic event! I cannot thank the contributors enough for the encouragement of our young women to consider the role of tech in their future careers. The students had a fantastic day and gained a great deal of insight int Cyber security, tech in broadcasting and AI. Special thanks to the BBC staff Nat, Emma and Yusuf and to Abbie Lowe from Microsoft. We value our shared goals agreement and their support in developing our digital offer to all our learners, not just our females. Many of our females really enjoyed the speed dating session with women and men from a broad range of roles and sectors and the opportunity to network further over lunch.
A special mention should go to the females who attended, they asked relevant and probing questions to our guests and delivered fantastic presentations to the panel. Our invited girls from Tottington High School worked seamlessly with our own learners and presented their work with authority and flair.
A wonderful event all round and one that supports young people to understand the digital and tech landscape and how it might feature in their futures.

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