Digital pioneer urges Preston schoolgirls to follow her into tech jobs

Girls from a Preston school had a unique careers lesson from some of the UK’s leading technology giants thanks to a digital pioneer who wants them to follow in her footsteps.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 12:18 pm

Students from Fulwood Academy visited Google’s UK headquarters in London, the TalkTalk Group in Salford, Boohoo head office in Manchester and AO.com’s Bolton HQ to get a feel for the types of careers they could pursue.

Becki Smith, a senior colleague at TalkTalk and a trustee of the Dunstone Education Trust, which runs Fulwood Academy, arranged for the 40 girls, aged 13-15, to see for themselves the opportunities that exist.

And she wants more young women to look at technology as the place to work in years to come.

The Fulwood Academy girls visit Google's London offices.

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As part of the “Girls in Tech” project the students are also designing, developing and marketing their own apps before presenting their ideas to a panel of experts Dragon’s Den style. 

Becki said: “It’s important that all students, but particularly girls, understand the vast array of digital jobs that are available to them across different industries. We want to inspire more girls to get into tech jobs - because it’s simply not enough at the moment. 

“This project is about showing them the opportunities available in areas such as sales, marketing, design, web development and analysis. Digital and tech jobs don’t need you to be a computer programmer or a ‘hacker’ - digital is for everyone.

“We’ve had fantastic support from these businesses, but if there are more digital operations that feel they could talk to the girls we’d love to hear from them.”

As part of the project the girls have had talks from and are being mentored by women in tech companies.

Fulwood Academy is run by the Dunstone Education Trust which is sponsored by Sir Charles Dunstone, chair of TalkTalk.

Joan Dean, chair of the Trust, said: “We’re looking to work with more businesses and more schools. As a sponsor, we’re keen to give both staff and students more exposure to digital technology. That’s our purpose and our mission as an academy sponsor.

“Academic excellence is important, but we want both girls and boys to be well-prepared for the future world of work, and to see the wide variety of roles available before they make decisions about A-Levels, apprenticeships and career paths.”