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FDM Group hosts Manchester event to encourage more female graduates into IT

FDM Group hosts Manchester event to encourage more female graduates into IT

The UK’s largest IT graduate employer, FDM Group, last night hosted a “Women in IT Advantage Session” in its Manchester office, based on Portland Street, to encourage more female undergraduates and graduates to pursue a career in IT.

The event, which was attended by over 35 of Manchester’s promising students, was held as part of FDM’s Women in IT initiative, which aims to support and encourage women to consider a career in IT. In October, the firm celebrated the first anniversary of the campaign, which has seen the overall percentage of female staff reach 23% well above the 14.4% industry average.

FDM’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheila Flavell opened the evening by telling attendees how she came to work in IT, “I started my career in the Glasgow Police Force and was one of the first women to patrol the streets as the Equal Pay Act came into legislation. I then moved on to work for an international airline and lived and worked in the United Arab Emirates. Twelve years later, I found myself working for FDM in IT, so working in a male dominated environment is nothing new to me! I have worked in gender imbalanced industries throughout my career but instead of feeling disadvantaged, I ceased the opportunity to learn the skills in order to succeed in these environments.”

The event follows on from FDM’s successful Advantage Session held last month in its flagship London office. Flavell said, “The purpose of these events is to inspire younger generations to take the leap into IT. It is widely known that IT is severely male dominated and it is our aim to offer the next generation of IT professionals the opportunity to gain insight into what their professional future might have in store.”

The session included presentations delivered by Gillian Arnold, Founder of Tectre, Rachael Aldus, The LateRooms Group and Sue Devlin from the Manchester branch of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. The speakers told attendees about their careers and experiences and why IT is one of the most exciting industries to work in.

Undergraduate Arteesha Bosamia of Warwick University said of the event, “It was inspirational to see women of all ages working in IT who have strived to make it easier for younger generations like me to get into the industry.”

A Q&A session then created a platform for attendees to ask direct questions and gather advice relevant to their own personal situations.

The event closed with an enjoyable round of networking, which gave guests the opportunity to forge relationships with other like-minded individuals that could support them throughout their careers. On the success of the event, Gillian Arnold commented, “I'm convinced that way that FDM champion Women in IT adds significantly to the numbers of women who can sample the delights of a career in IT.  FDM add their weight to the work we all do to increase the pipeline of women working their way to the top in the UK Technology sector, and it is imperative that we encourage more women to see technology careers as exciting and fulfilling because we absolutely need their diverse skills to help strengthen the UK economy.”

Recent research by Women in Technology found that 3 out of 4 people who work in the industry feel that women find technology jobs less attractive than men. Most men think this is due to the “geek/nerd” stereotype attached to technology and IT but many women believe this is due to the masculine/macho culture. FDM is dedicated to breaking these stereotypes and building a supportive environment for women, with the aim of creating a new generation of IT professionals.


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