Friday, August 18, 2017

Jade Davis talks us through her day at IT's not just for the boys!

I was excited to attend the IT’s not just for the Boys! event hosted by J.P Morgan at their Glasgow office as I couldn’t wait to meet other like-minded females and experience a corporate office. Before attending the event I ensured I was prepared with formal attire and something to jot down notes during the day- any hints, inspirational messages or CV tips I gained during the day!

On arrival, I was greeted with many sociable women whom like myself were students in STEM. The day started with a welcome by a senior representative at J.P. Morgan, where she introduced J.P. Morgan and the opportunities they provide. While this was being explained I was frantically jotting down in my notepad (the current one I am using to reminisce and write this post).

Kate Taylor gave a motivational speech, which was one of the most memorable parts of the day. Being in a male dominated course it can be daunting having the confidence and courage to take opportunities. This speech encouraged us all to be brave and take opportunities when they arise, not just the safe option. Women need to break the stereotypes placed upon them and this talk helped encourage just that. The memorable final quote which was placed on the screen and was ingrained in my memory forever; "She believed she could so she did".

Networking over lunch allowed me to talk to current graduates and network with recruiters from all the companies. Socialising with graduates allowed me to get an insight into the companies that attended. This was my chance to ask any queries that I wanted answering and socialise with other women, retelling stories of our experience in higher education.

After lunch, we were all split into groups to experience the group sessions. Since I had yet to experience an assessment centre this was going to be very interesting. The group exercise involved creating an application for a healthy eating website, where we had to create an app that we had to pitch, keeping in mind our desired target audience. This was great to experience the group activities that could arise at future assessment centres. We then proceeded to be able to talk to the companies in groups and be able to find out more about the graduate opportunities available and the application process.

The day ended with networking and I ensured I connected with the inspirational women whom I had met on social media to keep in touch in the future. The event encouraged me to take opportunities and to apply to the graduate schemes of these amazing companies whom are helping promoting women in technology.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Katie Bennett secures a placement with Arup by attending Future Female Engineers!

I had been interested in Arup as a company since starting my second year at university and being encouraged to secure an industrial summer placement. My interest was spiked when seeing some of the hugely prestigious projects that Arup had been involved with. One of them being very close to home, the engineering building that I have studied in for 90% of my university career The Diamond, an £81m multidisciplinary engineering facility for the University of Sheffield.

Around the same sort of time my university was advertising the Future Females Engineers event, which was conveniently going to be hosted in Arups’s HQ in London! The application for the Future Female Engineers event was a straightforward example of what to expect from a placement application, this was really useful as an opportunity to practice for the real thing. The telephone interview was also very straightforward, there was no need to stress as long as you had prepared! I researched all the companies attending and concluded that I was most interested in Arup and Wates. This was asked about in my interview and I was put with these two companies on the day of the event.

At the event during the team building exercise I was put with Aman Gill, a recruitment officer who works for Arup in London, as my team’s mentor. She told us a lot about the recruitment process at Arup and what they value from their potential employees. I took Aman’s email address and contacted her subsequent to my application to the summer placement opportunity for Arup Sheffield. Aman was in contact with the Sheffield office supporting my application.

I was so pleased when I got the confirmation of an interview for the placement and was so grateful that I had been able to attend the event. I also mentioned attending the event to my interviewer at Arup and they seemed to be impressed with my efforts. What I took from the event was the importance of interest and passion with a company in helping to secure a placement. I was really interested in Arup as a company before the event and I made this clear in my application.

The placement itself has been really interesting! I’ve been working in the MEP building services team as an electrical engineer and have travelling around to Nottingham and Liverpool with my team to meetings and site visits. I’ve been working mostly on a high rise residential building in Liverpool developing the schematics for all the electrical systems inside the building, for example, working on the telecommunications schematic, fire alarm treatment drawings, doing lighting calculations and working on containment layouts. Arup was a fantastic company to secure a summer placement with, the support from everyone was great and the facilities are impeccable.

I was inspired by all of the female engineers that I met at the event whether they were just aspiring or qualified. I had never felt such a friendly and positive atmosphere at a networking event before. I was also pleased to see my team at Arup being very balanced in its representation of women which was so refreshing to see in such a big engineering consultancy. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Amira met IBM at IT's not just for the boys! Since she has secured her dream security placement with IBM

My name is Amira Remadna and I am second year student at Oxford Brookes university; studying a combined course- computer science with business management. During my studies it took me a while to realise what I really wanted and what my passion is. The support I received from family and friends and TARGETjobs IT’s not just for the boys! event really helped this process.

I have always been a maths girl, which lead me to study maths stream at secondary school. At the very last minute before applyi
ng through UCAS I changed my personal statement and my course from foundation degree in science to maths with business management information, international business and research studies- in order to have a business management and computer science degree.

After my first year at university and getting involved in societies especially being the Oxford Brookes faculty ambassador for both departments (business school and computer science) I started to lean towards the computer science route. I attended IT’s not just for the boys!, which is a special event  ran by TARGETjobs, designed exclusively for female students who are looking to find out more about opportunities within technology . It was an excellent day and it made me realise how big the sector is and the amount of different opportunities available. At the end of the day you gain such confidence and inspiration you realise that you can achieve anything regardless of your gender.

When I first decided to apply for a placement I had very little confidence because I had no work experience related to technology. I thought it would be impossible for me to get experience as I knew other students already had a lot of experience. However I did not give up, I decided to start working and build my CV before applying. The event extremely boosted my confidence and has allowed me to develop as a candidate and helped me to secure my placement.

My dream job has always been with IBM and luckily for me they happened to be one of the companies that attended the event. During the day students participated in a team challenge, which was a perfect chance to showcase my skills to IBM. The longer I spoke to IBM representatives and current graduates on their schemes enabled me to gain more information from them, which helped me stand out from the crowd. It was simply the perfect chance to meet IBM and learn tips for their applications. Moreover, I spent all day interacting with various companies and great people such as senior managers at Dell.

Straight after the event I applied to IBM and it was my one and only application, so I put in all my efforts, to get my dream job. After passing the first stage of the application form, I attended many interviews where I showed my interest in security. Each stage of the application grew more challenging, until one day I received an email stating I had passed the assessment centre, where I then received an offer for a security role interview.

My interview went well, despite the fact I am not studying a security degree. Nevertheless, it was exactly the job I wanted and after a few days I called IBM and I told them that I’m ready to take the challenge and willing to learn before the final interview. Within a short period of time I was able to learn Linux and various other technical systems, which I believe enhanced my application and prepared me extremely well for the interview. Shortly after my interview I received the news that I secured the job! I was one of three students who secured a placement with IBM and the first and only Oxford Brookes student to secure a role within security. I am now extremely excited to start my role with IBM on 28th June and grateful to the IT’s not just for the boys! event for helping me in gaining the confidence to land my dream job! 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Bronwyn O'Neill, Female Undergraduate of the Year 2014 finalist, sheds some light onto life after the Awards...

I was a top 10 finalist for Rolls Royce's Female Undergraduate of the Year Award 2014. After the award process, I graduated from the University of York in 2015 and a month later moved to Matsuyama City, Japan. I was accepted onto the JET Programme as an Assistant Language Teacher, and since then have been teaching in five rural Elementary and Junior High Schools on the island of Shikoku. The past two years have been a real whirlwind and I've learnt so much - I've now got conversational Japanese language, teaching skills, and a great deal of experience with cross-cultural communication.  I’ve built a good network and I’ve also had some fantastic opportunities to publish some of my travel writing. As well as the professional skills I’ve developed, being in Japan has been a great opportunity for travel, personal development, and making some wonderful friendships. I will finish my time on the programme in August 2017, and although I will be a heartbroken to say goodbye to my wonderful students and life in Japan, I am very much looking forward to starting my career in the UK. I hope to use and continue to develop my language, communication, and creative skills in the new challenges that lie ahead.

Being part of Female Undergraduate of the Year has influenced my career path so far in subtle but noticeable ways. Visits to the Rolls Royce facilities and networking at Canary Wharf definitely opened my eyes to the world of possibilities open to me as a hardworking young professional. Seeing myself on the same level as so many amazingly talented undergraduates also gave me a confidence boost that went a long way towards securing my place on the JET Programme, a competitive and very rewarding graduate scheme. I found the Female Undergraduate award process particularly interesting as I met many high-level women at Rolls Royce and got a unique perspective on a previously male-orientated professional field. It really piqued my interest and heightened my drive towards breaking the glass ceiling.

My advice for prospective applicants is not to underestimate yourself! Make your application personal and give yourself enough time to properly give yourself credit for the great things you’ve already done as an undergraduate. You never know where it might lead you!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

We caught up with Shilpa after attending our Future Female Engineers event back in 2015!

I found out about Future Female Engineers through an email I received from TARGETjobs in 2015. I went online and looked at the videos, photos and the companies who had attended previously and was very impressed. The help and advice given during the event seemed exactly what I needed at that point in my education; an independent voice offering me fresh ideas helping me think outside the box. It was also the fact that the event was for female engineers, which is a subject very close to my heart.

I applied online and waited for my telephone interview, which arrived the following week. The lady I spoke to was very friendly and the call did not feel like an interview at all! It was a friendly chat where she wanted to know a bit about me and my background, why I was interested and so on. She helped me with any questions which were not clear to me; she let me take my time and really listened to me which was very helpful.

On the day of the event I got to know the girls very quickly, as the day began with an introductory session with breakfast! We had a few talks from very motivated and established female engineers, before moving onto the team challenge, which was such a success for my team because we won! What did we have to do you ask? Well, our team designed, delegated and built the tallest, most price efficient and free standing balloon tower (yes, a balloon tower) amongst all the groups. All this in under an hour with a group of girls you only met a few minutes ago, makes you realise what you can achieve if you put your mind to it with a committed team around you. The sense of satisfaction and excitement this activity gave me, spurred me to go along to more team building activities within my university and my job which has helped me became a more confident and able engineer.

After the lunch, we had the chance to speak with three of our chosen companies. We were given in-depth information about their online application, tests, interview processes and assessment days. This was really helpful as the information was more detailed than what you would get at a graduate or recruitment fair. Kate Bellingham, who is an advocate for STEM and WISE gave such a powerful and inspirational speech; I think I had tears in my eyes! The stories of these women of how they came to be where they are today and the situations they faced was amazing to hear, some that you could relate to as well.

Since attending the event, I graduated from university the following year and got my first job in a space of four months! It was difficult at times, especially when I had no offers from any of the companies I had applied to. However, if there was one thing I took away from the event was to keep trying, never give up and in the mean time to do anything to make you stand out as an engineer.

I got an offer from Westfield Sportscars (WSC) in the Dudley, West Midlands to work on their amazing driverless Pod project. I joined as a Project Engineer and was able to do much more than I had ever imagined to as a newly graduated engineer. I got to liaise with customers, pick up tools and built vehicles, do design work on CAD, etc. I will never forget the valuable experience and information I gained from attending TARGETjobs Future Females Engineers. I strongly believe that it has helped me a great deal to get to where I am today. I hope that one day I get to help more girls who are in the position that I was in back in 2015 and be one of those strong women they will remember.