Women in Tech Panel encourages Year 9 girls to aim high

Women in Tech Panel encourages Year 9 girls to aim high

9 November 2023

Just 24% of the UK Tech workforce is made up of women. It is therefore vital that we teach our female pupils that a career in tech is as much of a career option for them as it is for their male peers. How are Berkhamsted promoting the possibility of a future career in tech to our female pupils? By introducing them to the very women who have smashed through stereotypes and are currently working in tech roles for the UK’s biggest companies.

This week, our Year 9 girls heard from Ameena Akhtar, Selina Pavan, and Bernadette Bird, three highly successful women in tech. While each of the panellists work for different companies and are at different stages of their career, each equally inspired our girls to consider a career in the tech industry.

The session kicked off with an individual speech from each of the panellists about their careers in the tech industry. Bernadette, a Senior Technical Programme Manager at Marks and Spencer, kicked off the session by speaking about her role, which includes managing budgets and leading a large team of people every day. Her motivating talk provided pupils with an insight into the soft skills (such as team leadership) required when working in tech.

The girls then heard from Ameena, an especially exciting guest on the panel as she studied at Berkhamsted Girls’ just a few years ago. Ameena is currently working towards her Degree Apprenticeship at the University of West London and VMWare. Her advice to the Year 9s? “Make the most of the careers offering at Berkhamsted! There is so much support here for girls interested in the tech industry and I encourage you to go see the amazing careers team who helped me shape my own future not so long ago”.

The Year 9s were especially inspired by hearing from a woman who was in their shoes a few years ago. One Year 9 remarked “I really enjoyed hearing from Ameena. The fact that she studied here showed me that working in tech is something I could also achieve one day”.

The final guest speaker was Selina Pavan, a Technology Architect at the Bank of America. While Selina did not get the chance to study Computer Science at A-Level, she encourages pupils to take up the subject. “Computer science is going to be a critical skill for future jobs that haven’t been created yet,” Selina told the pupils, and her advice had a clear impact on the girls, “the best thing we learned from the talk was how much the STEM subjects that we study could help us in the future” said a Year 9 audience member.

After hearing the encouraging talks, the pupils had the chance to ask their burning questions to the panellists. From ‘What inspired you to pursue a career in tech?’ to ‘What is your favourite part of your work?’, the girls each took the opportunity to ask some insightful and interesting questions.

The session was a fantastic opportunity for our young Berkhamstedians to realise how high they could aim in the future, while the interactive Q&A allowed the pupils to get out of their comfort zones and talk directly to the panellists.

A big thank you to Ameena, Bernadette, and Selina for taking the time to speak to our pupils. Whether they go on to pursue a career in tech or not, we hope that hearing from these inspiring female speakers has encouraged our pupils to pursue the career they are passionate about, no matter their gender.

Panellist Selina Pavan is a member of the Stemettes, a closed network for young women to gain inspiration and advice regarding a career in tech. Join the Stemettes Parent Newsletter to receive monthly resources and event ideas for parents, guardians and carers packed full of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) inspiration and engaging activities. The newsletter will alert you to new opportunities, keep you informed about developments in STEM, give you more confidence to help your children get excited about STEM and learn about possible future career pathways.

Sign up for the Stemettes parent newsletter here: https://stemettes.org/parents/

Or view the Stemettes upcoming events here: https://stemettes.org/events/

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