From education to employment

Changing perceptions – The first digital, female degree apprentices complete

Ruth South, Head of Graduate and Apprenticeship Programmes, Capgemini

As the first female Doctor Who is set to feature on our screens, widening gender perspectives of this iconic British character, Capgemini has also crossed a milestone from a gender perspective – our first 3 female degree apprentices have completed their degree in Digital & Technology Solutions, achieving excellent results (2:1’s and 1st class).

You might be wondering why this is a milestone for us and the tech sector. It is well reported that there is a challenge with the number of women in technology and across the STEM area. Only 17% of those in the tech sector and 9.5% of students taking computer science A Levels are female (Source: DCMS Digital Policy Paper). In addition 85% of hard-to-fill positions are difficult to recruit because of the lack of specialist, technical skills (Source: Science & Tech Committee Digital Skills Crisis Report).

As a country we have a huge untapped talent pool that would significantly reduce the gap we are facing if they became more aware of the roles available to them.

Since we launched our apprenticeship programme we have taken a number of steps to attract women and to inspire them to think differently about the tech sector, we are particularly proud of our first women to cross the finish line because from the start of our degree apprenticeship programme they have supported our ambition to change the stereotypical view that tech is a male career route.

With the pace of change in the tech sector 1.2 million new roles will need to be filled by 2022 (Source: DCMS Digital Policy Paper). To do this we as a sector have to diversify, we have to inspire the next generation and we have to do it now. If we don’t, we will never achieve the ambition to be the top Digital economy and when it’s reported that 65% of roles that children want to do today ‘when they grow up’ will not exist by the time that they reach adulthood (Source: World Economic Forum), we have to move with the times and make roles in tech and other STEM areas within reach for everyone and visible from an early age.

Capgemini is taking this challenge seriously, we know that diversity and inclusion in the workplace has a number of obvious and underlying benefits. Our Active Inclusion programme champions all of our team members to feel valued, included, empowered and able to be their authentic self at work. This is something we need to do to be fit for the future.

We also work with schools to inspire girls to think differently about tech, we now hear that children are ruling out careers by as early as 4, therefore limiting their opportunities.

I attended a government event in Blackpool earlier this year and was overwhelmed by the number of school girls who were fascinated by virtual reality and app creation, yet unbelievably did not know that they could be the ones designing those apps and augmented reality sites in the future.

Our Degree Apprentices in the UK are 18.5% female, which is above the sector average and we’re particularly proud that our second graduating cohort is 23% female (pic below).

CapGemini Degree Apprentices

HuguetteHuguette Makamu (pic opposite), one of our graduating cohort has also written a blog about her experience of moving to London from Zaire and completing her degree, demonstrating the difference the programme has made to her personally.

In the coming months we welcome our first Cyber Apprentices, where the cohort is 100% female and our ambition is to continue to share the success stories of our female apprentices to showcase the opportunities that the tech sector and specifically Capgemini has to offer women, otherwise we will be missing out on a fantastic talent pool and as a sector we will never bridge the digital skills gap.

Ruth South, Head of Graduate and Apprenticeship Programmes at Capgemini

Do you see your future in technology and are interested in a Degree Apprenticeship? If so, we are looking for our 2018 apprentices now, click here for more information.

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