STEM and Women in Tech at Hero IT Support

STEM and Women in Tech at Hero IT Support

At Hero IT Support, we don’t like stereotypes and believe it is important to provide both men and women equal opportunities when it comes to work roles and career progression in IT services or any other industry. It is because of this that we are proud to have women in our technical, management, accounts and marketing department, all of which required STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths/Media) knowledge. Statistically, schools have noticed a decline in girls picking subjects like Computer Science, Information Technology, Creative Digital Media Production, Graphics and Product Design. We think this decline is important to address as these girls could be missing out on bright futures and vital opportunities.

Despite this, there are still misconceptions that STEM related careers are aimed at and best suited for men rather than women. We aim to change this opinion and bring awareness to young girls studying in school and encourage them to take STEM subjects by showing them all the career opportunities that could be available to them.

“It is widely acknowledged that STEM careers tend to be male-dominated – in fact, just 13% of the overall UK STEM workforce is female. It is important that young people realise that these subjects and exciting job roles are not just for men.”

Rob Josephs
Curriculum Development Officer, Albion in the Community

Our STEM Awareness Work So Far

National Back to School Week 2016

In February we attended a careers talk involving STEM for a ‘National Back to School Week’ campaign. This was organised by Futures First and held at Warden Park Academy. During this careers talk, we explained our job roles at Hero IT Support, career journeys since leaving school and any STEM subjects we took exams in. After this we went on to explain where a technology qualification can lead a the students in various industries. We delivered this talk and workshop to around 30 triple science students in year nine (ages 13-14) with the main theme being ‘how do subjects relate to jobs’ alongside ‘debunking stereotypes’.

Using Technology in Business

To demonstrate how a business such as Hero IT Support uses technology to help businesses, we held a workshop to help the children understand there is more to the technology sector than just hardware. The workshop worked by putting the school children in a business scenario. This scenario was the school commissioning a mobile app. The aim of this app was to make students day-to-day activities easier. The workshop encourage students to mind map ‘pain-points’ in school life. For example knowing whether they were on timetable A or B each week. We helped the students identify from these points a list of what main feature we would want in the school app through the MOSCOW analysis. Students had to identify the must-haves, should-haves, could-haves, won’t and would-haves.

After students put their business minds to work, we showed them how we would come up with positively impacting solutions for our customers through understanding their pain-points, their business needs and how they work. We then revealed a simple app we had found through a little research based on the students MOSCOW feedback. After showing the functions of this app, students were pleasantly excited to use this app, explaining to us how this app would change their school lives making it much easier to organise themselves. They could then put this into perspective to understand how IT companies such as Hero IT Support function and help customers with more than just physical technology.

The whole workshop was covered in this Mid Sussex Times article.

Women in Technology Event 2016

The second event in May was called ‘Women in Technology’ and was also held at Warden Park Academy and organised by Futures First. During both events we brought our knowledge and experiences in business to the students to encourage and enlighten them about the opportunities that science, technology, engineering and maths/media subjects bring and the brilliant path it can create for the students’ futures.

Virtual Reality in Business

We held a workshop to help the children understand how we can integrate and take advantage of the latest technology in businesses. We focussed on how virtual reality can help a business improve their customer experiences, for example in the real estate industry, virtual reality could help with virtual viewings of properties, or an architecture company could use virtual reality to visualise what the building is going to look like once complete. We showed the students that this is how Hero IT Support work, by comping up with innovative ideas for our customers to help their business become more efficient and help their customers. This gave the students a wider understanding about how technology in businesses and different industries is so important and how many options technology can provide.

The students left wonderful feedback expressing how “it was great to see all of the career opportunities” we covered and how “it showed that there are many jobs available for girls in technology”. One student said “I now might want to do something like they do when I’m older”. Another student stated “I liked finding out different jobs you could do and it really inspired me to do something like that”.

Hearing feedback like this makes attending events worthwhile and shows us how we are making a positive impact on young girls’ futures.

“You inspired me and many other girls to look at different job ideas, I didn’t know about your role and it sounded really interesting. You also told us to not just [pick subjects for GCSE’s] that your just good at, to pick subjects that you enjoy as well because at the end of the day it’s our decision about our future. We all learnt so much from you and it was a real pleasure speaking to you.”

Year 8 Student

Warden Park Academy

Industries and Careers Talk 2017

In 2017 a Work Experience organisation called Stages was holding a talk to their students on their career options and which industries they may be interested in building a career in. For this particular event, we were asked to attend and provide a talk on the IT industry.

We brought along our VR headset to show the students how technology progresses and how it’s not all just computers. We opened their eyes to show the students how at Hero IT Support our role is to bring new ideas and IT systems to their business to make it a more productive, efficient company which results in their businesses growing, becoming bigger and more successful.

“A big thank you for inspiring and teaching our students about how technology is changing the modern business. Your enthusiasm and commitment to encourage people to learn has opened a world of opportunities and possibilities which come from technology.”

Sophie – Work Placement Manager

Girls Do STEM 2018

In January 2018, both Serena (Technician) and Czarina (COO), attended the first ever STEM event at Warden Park Academy, called ‘GIRLS do STEM’, to positively influence almost 200 year 8 students with their future career path. After attending this event Czarina said “It’s fantastic to work with Albion in The Community and Warden Park Academy, here at the Amex today. We are here to encourage year 8 students from 10 secondary schools across Sussex, into careers in science, technology, engineering and maths and media.” These schools included Davidson CE High School for Girls, Felpham Community College, Hailsham Community College, King’s School Hove, Oathall Community College, Seahaven Academy, St Richard’s Catholic College, St Wilfred’s Catholic School and The Burgess Hill Academy.

“With 1 in 10 people running their own businesses, studying STEM subjects, such as technology, maths and media will enable the next generation of entrepreneurs and business women to have the right tools to make every success in their future.” More about this event can be found in this article by Albion in the Community.

“I just want to express my thanks for giving up your time to attend Girls do STEM conference at the Amex Stadium on Monday. The girls were incredibly complementary about the information, advice and guidance they received from you throughout the day and their feedback is really promising in terms of opening their eyes to future opportunities, not just to study a STEM subject at school or even choose a STEM-based career, but to do something they are passionate about and enjoy.”

Rob Josephs

Curriculum Development Officer, Albion in the Community

What Next?

So what do we have planned next? The job is not yet done, this is just the beginning. We plan to be taking part in more STEM events and continuing to spread awareness and encourage the next generation of girls [and boys] into managed IT services. We continuously support things such as “International Women’s Day” and ‘National STEM Day’ on social media and in the community.

As a small business IT support company, we are also exploring other avenues such as cyber security to ensure we spread awareness about the dangers online and how to stay safe. We have created a section on our website dedicated to cyber security. Following on from this, we also like to actively take part in spreading awareness about internet safety for children.

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