A business whose technology is revolutionising the global manufacturing industry is celebrating the successful first year of a programme it partnered with to inspire women to reach their ambitions in the digital sector.
The TechUp Women programme - which has been led by Durham University with support from Edge Hill, Nottingham and York universities and backed by funding from the Institute of Coding - was launched in early 2019 to offer 100 women from across the North and Midlands the chance to retrain in the tech sector, opening up opportunities for them in new and existing careers and improving capabilities in the fast-developing world of digital.
MSP has been an industry partner of TechUp Women since before its launch, helping to devise course content and providing sponsorship for some participants on the scheme. Senior members of the team have also been heavily involved throughout the delivery of the six-month programme, mentoring three participants to help develop their skills within the industry and supporting them with course assignments.
The participants have spent the duration of the online-based course completing modules in various areas including data science, machine learning and project management, supplemented by a series of residential weekends for participants to meet with each other, mentors and the TechUp Women team.
The programme graduation took place at a ceremony in Nottingham this month, where together course graduates, support teams and mentors celebrated the success of the programme and speakers shared their transformational leadership stories.
Alnwick-based MSP - which works with global businesses including BAE Systems and three leading Formula 1 racing teams, and whose technology enables manufacturers to make perfect parts every time - has a longstanding commitment to promoting careers in software engineering.
Marianne Whitfield, Director of Development at MSP, was part of the TechUp Women advisory board, and was a course mentor alongside MSP Commercial Director Tony Brown and Senior Software Engineer Ben Notarianni.
“TechUp Women is the first project of its kind to offer this sort of opportunity to a hugely diverse range of women. To see the growth in their confidence and digital capability during the programme, culminating in their graduation, has been truly fantastic,” said Marianne, who has worked in the tech industry for over 20 years, and mentored charity founder Fareeha Usman during the programme.
“There has been such a range of women on the course, from some who already held very senior positions and wanted to improve their digital skills to those who wanted to change their career completely. By retraining in the digital sector, which has so many transferable skills, this opens up a world of possibilities for women whatever their age or circumstances.”
Tony Brown, Commercial Director at MSP, added: “I am a passionate advocate of women in tech, and MSP is well known for its commitment to offering opportunities to people who want to build a career in this sector, so we were only too keen to help shape the direction of the first-ever TechUp Women course. We have had the privilege of mentoring some inspiring women who we are confident will put their new skills into practice and build on their achievements so far to fulfil their ambitions. We wish the graduates every success going forward in their careers.”
Fareeha Usman, who runs international charity Being Woman - which works with women across the world from its base in Ashington to empower them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to challenge all forms of prejudice and discrimination in the society - said she was truly inspired by her participation in TechUp Women and being mentored by Marianne.
“I have learnt so much through the TechUp Women programme, not just the practical skills but it has helped with other important skills like confidence, time management and networking. As a mother of two young children running a charity and having recently established an Indian Streetery cafe, the fact you could learn from distance and on a flexible basis was hugely important, and allowed women like me the opportunity to get involved,” she said.
“Marianne has been inspirational for both myself and the charity, as well as to so many other women who were part of the TechUp programme. She has been out to visit our charity and is very committed to Northumberland and developing skills here. I am so grateful for her guidance and inspiration and I know we will continue to work together into the future.”