23 April 2018
At Anglia Ruskin our Degree Apprenticeship in Digital and Technology Solutions is designed with the support of Cambridge’s leading tech companies, who share our passion for encouraging more female representation in the industry.
Whether you're a school leaver with tech career aspirations, or you're making changes to your career path and bringing years of skills and attributes with you, women can only strengthen the tech industry. Degree apprenticeships are a great way to upskill and develop a better understanding of the variety of tech roles on offer.
Our first female Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprentice is Laura Cain (pictured). Here's her story.
Having a breadth of interests from arts to maths and physics at school, Laura opted for a career in the arts, after achieving lower grades in maths and physics. She graduated with a degree in Graphic Design Photography and a Masters in Animation.
During her university days, however, Laura said she spent a lot of her time ‘figuring out why my computer wasn’t working, rather than focusing on my art subjects. I ended up doing a lot of self-teaching in technology because it really interested me.’
After graduating Laura found herself working in jobs where she’d lean more towards tech roles, realising she knew more about tech than she gave herself credit for. Even then she didn’t consider going in to a career in tech. It didn’t happen until an opportunity came up whilst working as a key account manager with her current employer, Ground Control Ltd. The IT management team recognised her natural talent and Laura became part of the First Line Support Team, where she was given trial days: ‘I had to fix broken computers, and I’d like to say I proved myself competent in technology solutions at that point. I was then asked to progress to the role I’m in now as Application Support Analyst and offered the degree apprenticeship to further my career aspirations.’
Laura seized the opportunity to study for a degree in tech and she’s had many positive experiences: ‘The degree apprenticeship has given me a chance to gain an in-depth knowledge about the systems I already use in my job. It’s cementing my knowledge and I’m growing in confidence. I get a lot of support with my apprenticeship, from booking skills sessions and personal tutor sessions with ARU, to having a dedicated mentor at work, who I have regular meetings with. I’m upskilling and improving my knowledge, which is beneficial to my employers, and personally, it’s giving me an insight in to which area of tech I want to go into.’
As inspiring as Laura’s story is, women can be put off by a career in technology as they view it as too male dominated. Laura’s experience has been challenging and she sometimes found it difficult working in a male-orientated environment: 'There were times when I did doubt myself. However I’ve found knowledge is powerful, and learning more through my degree apprenticeship is helping me to become more confident in sharing my knowledge and ideas at work.’
Laura’s advice for any woman wanting to start a career in tech, at whatever career stage they are at is: 'If you enjoy it and you understand it, don’t doubt yourself. You may have to shout a little bit louder, but with the right encouragement you will get there.'
Employers can make a positive difference by equipping women in tech with a degree apprenticeship to help them find success. Imbalances in tech won’t be an overnight fix. But, with the prospect of more apprentices like Laura becoming future tech leaders and mentors, women looking to enter the industry will hopefully feel encouraged and inspired.
If you’re an employer, find out how to develop your own talent pipelines for in-demand roles including software engineers and cyber security analysts by visiting our Digital and Technology Solutions employer information page.
If you're interested in studying a degree apprenticeship, visit the BSc (Hons) Digital and Technology Solutions page to find out what our exciting course has to offer, or email the Degrees at Work team firstname.lastname@example.org.