How can we inspire and support the next generation of female tech talent?
Friday, June 21, 2019

To celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, we’ve spoken with Niki Malik, Early Careers Manager at the broadcasting innovator Sky to find out how they are inspiring and supporting the next generation of female tech talent.

What have you been doing to engage female students to consider careers in technology?

In April, we piloted our ‘Women in Tech - Spring Insight week’ for first year female undergraduate students. We wanted to engage female students and encourage them to consider careers in tech by showcasing how our agile teams work in practice to develop products and services for our customers and Sky as a business. Our aim was to increase the percentage of females in the pipeline for our Software Engineering graduate programmes.

How did you recruit for the Women in Tech - Spring Insight week’?

We invited applicants from all disciplines, not just those studying for Computer Science degrees, as we were looking for those candidates who have a passion for technology and willingness to learn.

We worked with GTI to manage the application process with all candidates completing a short online application, followed by an informal telephone interview to assess their motivation to attend the Spring Insight week at Sky and their passion for technology. From 80+ applications, we shortlisted 20 female attendees for events at our offices in London and Leeds.

How did you format the Insight week?

The two events were held over three days.

All the students were introduced to Sky and took part in sessions to gain insight into the business, including Developers, Testers, DevOps, Technology, Data Scientists, Cyber Security and getting into Tech. For inspiration, the young women heard talks from female role models, Rashee Kapoor (Programme Manager) and Renee Hunt (Director of Digital Platforms) at Sky, who spoke about their career journeys and how they got to where they are today.

They were introduced to agile methodologies and were given the chance to build their own app as part of an interactive session. They were able to shadow areas of the business to experience first-hand what life at Sky is really like and gain hints and tips about the application process for graduate programmes.

What was the outcome?

Following the Insight Week, all candidates who stated an interest were considered for future summer internship opportunities. Five candidates from the London event attended our internship assessment centre, which resulted in two being shortlisted and offered a summer internship. The calibre of those at the assessment centre was high and we are keen to offer opportunities to all candidates, so we are looking into the potential of additional internships or work experience.

The aim is to continue engaging with all attendees and build relationships with them throughout their time at university. By supporting and developing this pool of talent, we hope to successfully increase the number of female applicants in our pipeline for our internships and Software Engineering graduate programmes.

Student feedback from the events was really positive, with many of the students finding the work shadowing particularly informative and insightful.

I really enjoyed the insight week and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to go into tech or is just looking into it as I was. The inclusive atmosphere was something I particularly enjoyed - everyone was very keen to engage with us even if they didn't 'have to' and we never felt like an inconvenience even though it was something I was nervous about, especially for the work shadowing. The women who talked to us all seemed passionate about what they do, I particularly enjoyed the talk from Clare Davidson about accessibility as it was something I hadn't heard a lot about before and it was very interesting. The people on the graduate program who helped us with the coding session were also so helpful, Abby Smith especially went above and beyond.”

Everyone was incredibly welcoming and it was highly appreciated, absolutely loved it.”

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