It was a real no brainer when the announcement of the STEMAspire program came out that I was keen to get involved. Supporting women in IT and youth learning is what I am passionate about. It makes up my core values and morals as a woman in the IT industry.
Over the past 18 years I have seen a real shift in the attitude and acceptance of women in the IT industry. Although we still have a long way to go to get the gender balance right, Dell are leading the way in making IT an equal playing field.
The Pipeline problem
It is clear that schools offer STEM subjects as part of their curriculum, where we see there is a high uptake of STEM subjects by females at this stage in their lives, which is great. However, this number significantly drops when it comes to Higher education choices and there after a dramatic drop when planning or considering a career in technology.
This is where the Dell Glasgow STEMAspire program is leading the gender balance issue with our 12-month mentoring program – to encourage STEM subject females to remain in industry and inform of the great job diversity available in technology.
Mark White, Site Lead for Dell in Scotland, noted that as retention was a key element of the programme, it would aim to assist women as early as possible in their studies. White noted: “We meet a lot of women who have decided to buck the trend and gain an education in a STEM topic and we’ve been increasingly concerned by the number of them who, during their education, decide to look at other careers.
“The gender imbalance in technology does get a little more equal every year, but this is being hampered when female graduates get some experience of working in our industry and decide it’s not for them. The feedback we receive is all too-often based around just how male-dominated the industry feels.”
This is why being a mentor for this program is so important to the wider Women in Tech picture and ultimately why I signed up – to help empower and enhance women’s motivation and aspirations to plan a career in Technology.
Being a Mentor
I have gained so much already from being a mentor, not just the comfort that I am contributing to the greater good, but that I am supporting a young adult in her career goals and choices whilst opening a network of career sponsors to help her further. Over the course of the past 10 months, as a Mentor, I have developed my communication skills, realised my leadership skills and expanded my social media understanding and user skills.
I meet with Vardah, my Mentee, every month and we spend time going through her goals – short and long term. We meet in the Dell Glasgow office, have some lunch and talk about her next steps, key objectives and what I can do to support these.
I find the benefits of being a Mentor exciting. They allow me to share my expertise, exercise my leadership skills, expand my network and obtain fresh perspectives, whilst investing in our organisations future.
I would encourage anyone to get involved – you will be thankful of the opportunity and find reward in the process.