Free training courses - WeAreTechWomen (800 × 600 px)

Get into tech with these free training courses

Are you in the tech industry and looking to learn new skills? Or do you want a career change and are unsure of where to start?

There are an abundance of companies and social enterprises that can provide you with free training. Here at WeAreTechWomen, we have pulled together a number of great opportunities for you to explore.

A number of these organisations provide online distance learning, whereas some also provide the opportunity to join them at events and to be part of their communities!

Go explore, and if we have missed an organisation that provides these opportunities for women to get into tech, you can drop us a note at [email protected].

Code First Girls


Code First Girls has become the largest provider of free coding courses for women in the UK, having delivered over £40 million worth of free technology education and teaching three times as many women to code as the entire UK university undergraduate system!

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Coding Black Females


Coding Black Females was created in 2017. We are a nonprofit organisation, and our primary aim is to provide opportunities for Black female developers to develop themselves, meet familiar faces, network, receive support and build relationships through having regular meetups.

Find out more

OpenLearn


Produced by The Open University, a world leader in open and distance learning, all OpenLearn courses are free to study. We offer nearly 1000 free courses across eight different subject areas. Find free science, maths and technology courses below.

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TechUP Women


TechUP is a training programme that focuses on training individuals from minority groups into tech careers. Working closely with industry the TechUP team creates a programme tailored to industry needs whilst also ensuring every participant gets an amazing learning experience.

Find out more

LinkedIn Learning


Advance your career with LinkedIn Learning. Learn from courses taught by industry experts in leadership, management, marketing, programming, IT, photography, graphic design, web and interactive design, 3D animation and much more.

Find out more

Trailhead by Salesforce


Start your adventure by learning the way you want with Salesforce’s Trailhead. Learn at your own pace with learning paths designed just for you, take classes taught by Salesforce experts, and get answers from fellow Trailblazers in our community.

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Discover more free training courses


We've rounded-up a number of different organisations that offer free coding clubs, training courses and ways you can get into the tech industry.

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three women in tech working on laptops, gender diversity

Being transparent & driving diversity in the cyber security industry 

three women in tech working on laptops, gender diversity

Article provided by Kate Dadlani, Head of Security Advisory Services at Logicalis UKI

Cyber-attacks have increased since the start of the pandemic, making cybersecurity a priority for leaders across all industries.

IT Governance research discovered 1,243 security incidents in 2021, leading to an 11% increase compared to the previous year.

As Logicalis UKI’s Head of Security Advisory Services, I lead the development of cybersecurity services that support our customers in protecting themselves as much as possible against these attacks. Being a leader in tech, it is clear that a major issue in the cyber security space is that women represent only 11% of the cyber security workforce. This means one of the biggest problems facing the tech sector is that it simply isn’t utilising or appealing to half of the population. However, the shortage of tech talent is not a new problem. Over a decade ago, more than half of CEOs complained about the dearth of talent for digital roles. To make matters worse, a recent Korn Ferry study found that unless we get more high-tech workers by 2030, the security industry could miss out on over $160 billion in annual revenues.

Ultimately, the lack of diversity means less available talent to help keep up with mounting cyber threats, which has a knock-on effect on business continuity and profitability.

30 under 30: Becoming a leader in cybersecurity.

My fascination with computers started quite young. I remember when my mum bought me my first computer; I took it apart entirely just to put it back together like a jigsaw. Quite naturally, this interest led me to read forensic computing at De Montfort University. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at university and achieved a First Class-Degree. My final year dissertation – which was about iPhone backup files as a source of evidence – was even published internationally in Digital Forensics Magazine.

Despite the resistance I’ve experienced from older men in positions of power, I’m in my thirties and I’m already the Head of Security Advisory Services at a large company. I’ve featured as a ‘Rising Star’ in Cyber World Magazine and placed on CRN’s Women in Channel A-List – both are very well-respected titles. I’ve even been selected as a House of Lords representative! I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved, especially considering I’m still relatively early in my career.

All of these things started a foundation for the rest of my career. I’ve worked in a variety of roles, from starting as a Cyber Intelligence Analyst at Lockheed Martin in the aerospace and defence sector to a consultancy role at Ernst & Young. Then three years ago I started at Logicalis UK as Security and Compliance Manager, intending to bring cybersecurity to the forefront of both the organisations and employees’ minds. In less than a year and a half, I was promoted to CISO and now I’m Head of Security Advisory Services.

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The biggest obstacle girls will face is being a woman in man’s world. 

Everyone in the tech industry, no matter their gender, needs to acknowledge and educate themselves on the difficulties women face in such a male-dominated profession. The people working in security are usually older and male. As a woman, there’s always going to be the difficulty of actually being heard. Stepping into the C-suite sphere means having to communicate and battle with already established executives who can be quite hard to persuade. I’ve experienced a lot of resistance and reluctance coming from the top. A lot of it has stemmed from me being a young and accomplished woman, telling them how operations need to change.

I’ve come to the understanding that men and women work quite differently. To create a diverse workforce, more women in the cybersecurity space will lead to a variety of ideas being bounced around. This abundance of different views can prove to be very beneficial to day-to-day business. By incorporating more women into the tech space, we’ll have more women in powerful positions helping to innovate company cultures.

Just do it! Accepting your lack of confidence and fear of failure.

One of the biggest issues is that society has caused men to often be more outspoken than women. I’ve found that women, myself included, tend to be quite circumspect and self-doubting in comparison.

My advice for women struggling with imposter syndrome is to be transparent with themselves and their colleagues. It’s so easy to hide behind a false layer of confidence, but it stops you from reaching your full potential. Recognising both your strengths and weaknesses allows you to realise not only where you can improve but also what you’re good at and how you can utilise those skills better.

Seeing as most tech positions are held by men, it can be discouraging for women with a great interest in the industry. I want to encourage women that it’s incredibly possible to get to a senior level in the IT world. I’m also very wary that this gender imbalance in tech needs to be addressed. One of the few ways to get the ball rolling is by sharing my experiences and supporting other women who find themselves being the only female in a meeting.


Four young strong women or girls standing together. Group of friends or feminist activists support each other, women supporting women

How can women become advocates for each other in a male-dominated tech world?

Four young strong women or girls standing together. Group of friends or feminist activists support each other, women supporting women

By Silvia Colombo, Senior Software Engineer at UserTesting

A 2021 report by TechNation revealed that just 19 per cent of the tech workforce are women.

It’s a depressing, if slightly unsurprising, statistic. But as we celebrate Galentine’s Day and the role of women in tech, Silvia Colombo, Senior Software Engineer at UserTesting, discusses how advocating for female peers and being a strong leader can help redress the balance.

Intro to software

I got into programming because I love maths; it evidently ran in the family as both my parents work in technology, and my grandmother taught mathematics. I was first exposed to programming in high-school, and it didn’t initially click. It was only when my mother, a former computer science teacher turned techie, introduced me to the concept of recursion, that I understood what it was all about. I was instantly hooked!

Through  high school, I became even more passionate about software and algorithms. It’s where I discovered the satisfaction that comes from programming – seeing it work and hold in place. At first I was passionate about the scientific side and the possibilities computational power opened up. Later, at university, I took a much more humanist approach. I started to think, “if it doesn’t serve people, what’s the point?” It’s where my interest in human-computer interaction and natural language processing jump-started, particularly with everything that helps to bridge the gap between technology and people. This is why UserTesting came to be a perfect fit further down the line.

Breaking into tech

When I started programming, it didn’t occur to me that it would be a male-dominated sector. It was only when I entered a major competition, and saw there was only one other girl there, that I realised it wasn’t a female-centric space. This continued at university with very few girls on the technology courses, and most of the mathematicians being men.

In the professional world, being a woman has its advantages and disadvantages. There are definitely gender biases, and times when I wish there were more women in the room, but there are advantages to this too. As a minority, you stand out. For an extrovert, that’s an additional advantage because you’ve got more opportunity to make your voice heard. For an introvert, it can be extra daunting. I like to think of myself as a bit of both, so I will zig-zag between the two.

Women supporting women

I’m incredibly passionate about supporting other women in the industry. At UserTesting I do my best to encourage, uplift and advocate for my female colleagues. To me, the most important thing is that there is room for everyone in the tech world. There are so many amazing women in technology, and I want them all to succeed. I urge all women in tech to support, help and guide others in the industry!

It’s also important to make sure you LOVE your job! If you love it, you’ll do well, and this will pay off when working with others; they’ll see your passion and it’ll hopefully be infectious. Think about your attitude in the workplace and make sure that if someone was to mirror it, you’d be happy to have them on your team. This will encourage women to be brave, work hard, and ensure their passions and voices are heard.

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Career advice

  1. Be your own self-advocate

Push through the nerves. Ask to take on a new role, put yourself forward for team lead, make yourself known and be proud of what you achieve. If you’re trying to get into a leadership position, you have to advocate for yourself, so your employer and your peers know you’ll advocate for the team too, when the time comes.

  1. There’s room for everyone

Never be bitter about the success of other women or think it’s a competition. Be proud of them, applaud them and push them – there is space for everyone and now is the time to bring a greater gender balance to the tech world.

  1. Show off your difference

In an interview, don’t try and blend in with the men and fit the model of the ‘typical candidate’. There will be loads of “typical candidates” applying for the job. Take advantage of the fact that you’re different and use it as a way to stand out among others.

  1. The importance of role models

Studies have shown that it’s easier to attract women to a workplace or industry where women are already represented. At work, I always try to put forward role models. Advocate early on for making sure interview panels are diverse, especially for tech roles – women need to be represented in positions of power and decision, so that more women join your team knowing these opportunities are open to them!

  1. Join networking groups

Networking with other women is vital! Share your experiences, challenges, advice and successes too. At UserTesting there are groups for women across the company, along with tech-specific groups as well. It’s a great opportunity to meet exceptional women, hear about their career paths, and learn. Be sure to get involved in regular mentorship sessions if your company has them! If you need guidance, lean on other women. If you think you have some wisdom to share, be supportive and share it.

Networking recommendations

Women Who Code is an international organisation with local groups available to join. The goal is to inspire women to excel in technology careers.

Code Bar is a charity that helps the growth of a diverse tech community by running free regular programming workshops for minority groups in tech. I joined this as a coach, but you can join as a student too!

Silvia ColomboAbout the author

Silvia is a senior software engineer and team lead at UserTesting, the leading provider for on-demand human insights. Previously, she led the front-end team of Spiritus, an Edinburgh-based health tech start-up, developed smart television applications, and worked on an open-data platform for public and private organisations. In her free time, she is passionate about volunteering in STEM outreach, education, and child wellbeing programs.


Jo Barnard, Morrama

Being a woman in the design/tech industry is a superpower

jo barnard morrama

By Jo Barnard, Founder and CEO, Morrama

I first set up industrial design and innovation consultancy Morrama aged 24.

I was straight out of university with nothing to lose and a lot to learn. Six and a half years later, I have a team of 10 working with startups all over the world to bring tech and consumer product ideas to market and help create million-dollar brands.

In the early stages of my journey as a female founder and designer in a male dominated industry, I always felt a sense of pride proving people wrong. When clients met me for the first time, I could tell they had made the assumption that I was Jo (male) not Jo (female) over email. For example, I once went to China to meet with a factory team I’d been communicating with for six months and I can tell they were expecting a man to turn up. I enjoyed making people feel uncomfortable because of their own bias, I felt that they deserved it.

A few years on, however, I grew tired of it. It felt like my gender was influencing people’s beliefs in my ability to do my job, something that would never come into play if I was male. Lately I’ve gone full circle.

At Morrama, we design products for startups. They need to stand out from the crowd. Being a female-run and 50/50 gender split team sets the agency apart because it’s so rare in the industry. We approach brand strategy and design processes differently to our competitors and I know this is a major factor in both our success as an agency and the success of our startup partners.

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It’s not news that increased diversity leads to an increase in business performance in both design and business.

Being female makes it easier for me to hire other women. Being female gives me an edge in business where having a unique perspective helps you stand out. Being female has helped me create an amazing company.

After spending nearly 10 years in a male-dominated industry, I’ve learnt a lot.

Below are my top tips for young women, who are just starting out in the industry:

  • Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and call people out if they are not being considerate or inclusive of others – you might get ignored, but it’s still worth saying.
  • Network as much as possible, and not just with other women – find an area that interests you and find a social group/networking event where you can meet others that share that interest. My network has been a huge support in my career so far.
  • Be brave – that might sound scary, but as women, we need to go after the opportunities we want, no one will give them to us on a silver platter.

Don’t ever let yourself be judged negatively for being different, that difference is your superpower.

About the author

After completing my Product Design degree I moved to London to work freelance, picking up jobs here and there in small design studios and startups.

In 2014 I founded Morrama with fellow industrial designer Rob Bye and took the reigns a year later when he left and founded Availo.

With a focus on helping small businesses and startups understand the value of design and, more importantly, user experience, I’ve since worked with clients worldwide to get their businesses off the ground.

My passion lies in helping companies build their brand through both story-telling and industrial design and how you can weave these two things together in a unique way to offer something fresh and exciting to your customers.

My expertise lies in understanding how to tackle the complex product development process and how you can collaborate with suppliers and stakeholders to strengthen your product offering rather than let it get diluted in logistics and compromise.

Aside from my work as founder of, and design at, Morrama, I offer my services as an advisor to startups at any stage of the product development process. More than anything I love hearing startups stories and working to make them a reality.


School of Code

School of Code is expanding it’s free Skills Bootcamp to people across England

School of Code

The School of Code is taking its ground-breaking, free coding bootcamps across the country.

Starting on 15th November 2021, the Skills Bootcamp in software development will be full-time, intensive, and 100 per cent FREE to residents in five English regions – the North West, West Midlands, East Midlands, London and the South East.

This expansion is in partnership with the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee and Plan for Jobs.

School of Code - Cohort 2

There are no prerequisites to apply and no previous experience required – those applying for the course don’t even need to have seen a line of code before.

School of Code takes a learner from beginner to software developer in just 16 weeks before helping them find their first role in tech.

Already this year, during the pandemic lockdowns, they have successfully helped 62 people go from zero to programmer and started their professional tech careers.

The course prides itself on being open to anyone, with diversity in each cohort, a 50:50 gender split and an age-range of 18-60. The School of Code has helped former teachers, return to work parents, school leavers, refugees, bakers, unemployed people, barbers, retail assistants, musicians, artists, air hostesses, beauticians, personal trainers, PhDs, probation officers, health and hospitality workers all learn how to code and change their career paths. Previous graduates have successfully secured roles at employer partners including The Economist, Bravissimo, Santander, Gymshark, Wise, and many more.

They are looking to help 192 people across the country start new careers by April 2022.

School of Code - Karenjeet Chahal

Speaking about the announcement, Dr Chris Meah, Founder of the School of Code said, “Technology will be the engine of recovery for the country, but we need to make sure everyone is on board to benefit.”

“At the School of Code we are free and open to everyone to remove barriers for people.”

“Our mission is to help more and different types of people take advantage of the opportunities technology gives, and to future proof their skills and career.”

“We believe talent can come from anywhere. Money shouldn’t be a barrier to accessing life-changing educational opportunities.”

“That’s why we provide a free route taking people from knowing nothing about technology to becoming world-class tech talent, and partner with employers to help land people into jobs and make our new model of education sustainable.”

“Skills Bootcamps offer a short, intensive, immersive and transformational learning sprint to a new career.”

“The experience helps to change lives and power growth by giving participants the right skills to be immediately useful to employers on day one.”

“But crucially our bootcampers also learn how to learn.”

APPLY HERE
TechWomen100 2021 logo

TechWomen100

Nominations are now open

The TechWomen100 awards are the first of their kind to focus solely on the female tech talent pipeline and recognise the impact of champions, companies and networks that are leading the way. Nominations are now open until 10 September 2021.

CAST YOUR NOMINATIONS

woman video calling while working on laptop, staying digitally connected 1

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic through a digitally connected workplace

woman video chatting while working on laptop, staying digitally connected

Article provided by Nerys Mutlow, Evangelist, Chief Innovation Office at ServiceNow

We’re living through unprecedented times and companies are trying to navigate their way through long periods of uncertainty.

As a result of COVID-19, business continuity is now at the forefront of every company’s agenda. Yet while business leaders cannot manage the pandemic itself, they can determine how their companies adapt to the challenges of the crisis. Given that remote working has become the norm for most, keeping the workplace digitally connected is vital for sustaining productivity and helping organisations minimise the impact of the pandemic.

Delivering a culture of creativity and openness

A strong culture is the lifeblood of an organisation and underpins everything it stands for. Where and how employees work has changed dramatically overnight, but that does not mean businesses should forget about what makes them different from their competitors.

Values act like a north star that keeps everyone going in the same direction. It’s essential to reinforce these to all team members through regular virtual town halls and meetings so that they are front of mind. This will ensure customers get the same service they did before the pandemic. Businesses that continue to deliver excellent support despite all the challenges they have faced will further strengthen their relationships with customers. And this has the added benefit of helping growth in the long-term, leading to more customer retention and making them appeal to potential new customers.

Getting new hires up to speed with company values from the beginning is also essential. Technology can play a role here. Companies like ServiceNow have created mobile apps to help leaders virtually onboard new hires and engage with them before they start so that they are ready to work and understand what is expected of them. This ongoing engagement is also important as it can help new hires settle in, reassuring those that may be anxious about starting a new job during a crisis.

The right culture will give employees a creative, open platform and will encourage innovation and experimentation. It will create a safe workplace environment to allow leaders at every level the chance to make bold decisions without the fear of making mistakes. This has always been important for businesses but has become even more essential during the pandemic.

Time to prioritise physical and mental health

With the world we know changing so dramatically and there being so much negativity every time we look at the news, it’s more important than ever to promote a healthy body and mindset. Leaders have a vital role to play here. They need to be role models, understand their team’s home setup and encourage them to switch off at times, take breaks and be flexible in the way they work. Businesses should focus on outcomes and not on activity; performance and not the number of hours sitting in front of a laptop screen.

Research from the Trade Union Congress found that the average Brit spent 219 hours commuting last year. This shouldn’t now be seen as extra time for work. It should be focused on managing wellbeing and mental health: more time to read, train for a 10k race or walk around the local park. This will help people clear their minds, step away from their laptops and increase focus when they are working.

Digitise the workplace to stay connected

Organisations always prepare for crises. Time is spent investing in drills around data centres and cyber breaches. But less time is spent testing the workforce and workplace for remote working at the scale we’re currently seeing.

Before this pandemic, many organisations did not have working from home policies and had to put these together quickly. Some invested in the right tools, training and policies during ‘business as usual times and tested these as part of business continuity plans. This gave them confidence that they could operate when people needed to work remotely, and also helped build working from home into their culture. It had the added benefit of highlighting what gaps needed to be fixed and optimised.

Now that this way of working has been forced on so many businesses, communication about what is working and what is not, is key. Leaders need to constantly communicate with employees and workers need to make sure they are speaking to each other. Creating a unified, consumer-style employee service experience across all departments will make this so much easier for workers.

People may no longer be in the physical office but with collaboration tools, virtual meeting rooms and virtual coffee breaks, employees can create a digital version of it. Workers should be encouraged to set and communicate expectations around their working day and when they will be available.

Creating a digital twin for a workplace will ease a lot of the issues that can be caused by not being in an office. If colleagues are used to seeing each other in real life, encourage the use of technology to maintain that same level communication. If workshops need to be run, video conferencing tools should be used. When there is a need to collaborate, virtual whiteboards, mind mapping tools and visual task boards can help. If customer briefings or events need to be delivered, then encourage interaction through the use of polls, voting and Q&A sessions.

Those companies that had previously embraced cloud-based tools have found the pivot to remote working a lot more straightforward. Cloud has proved its value during this crisis and the digital native companies have barely been disrupted. For businesses that are implanting these tools for the first time now, getting employees trained up so that they can use them to be productive and collaborate with colleagues in the right way, is critical.

This global pandemic has also demonstrated to businesses that they need to focus on continuity planning. There will be new challenges that arise when some employees go back to the office while others work from home. Now is the time to start planning for this to maintain a company’s values as well as employee productivity.

About the author

Nerys MutlowNerys Mutlow works in the Chief Innovation Office at ServiceNow and covers the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. She has a breadth of technical, business and leadership experience gained over a 20 year+ career with variety of companies including Xerox, Thales and Fujitsu. She has held senior EMEA business, consulting and technical roles and is consistently recognised for her technical aptitude, business understanding and focus on driving value and innovation for her customers. Nerys also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems Management. She is a recognised thought leader and has published and contributed to a number of digital publications and blogs. Supporting women into technology is particularly important to Nerys and she actively supports many STEM initiatives.


If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here.


working from home setup with computer and desk, productivity, working from home

World Productivity Day: overcoming challenges to productivity levels in the ‘new normal’

working from home setup with computer and desk, productivity, working from home

As we slowly begin to see the other side of COVID-19, many businesses will be considering making the move back to the office.

Clearly this has a whole host of implications – from maintaining social distancing measures to adjusting to the return to coworking – but what will this migration mean specifically to employee productivity?

WeAreTechWomen spoke to five technology experts to get their opinions on what issues they predict arising in the future ‘new normal’, and what solutions businesses might consider putting in place in order to combat them.

A new definition of ‘productivity’

Agata NowakowskaAgata Nowakowska, Area Vice President at Skillsoft, explains how World Productivity Day has taken on a new significance, as many of us are working out how we maintain productivity and manage our time effectively while managing the many challenges of working remotely:

“The key to time management as a remote worker is balancing the hours you are working with ‘no work’ hours. Without a physical office location or the mental separation of the commute, the boundaries can quickly blur. It can be easy to let work intrude on sleep, relaxation and family time. Of course, deadlines must be met – but so too must personal needs and obligations.

“You need to work with your team to set priorities and expectations and tools to help you structure your working day. This includes:

  • Establishing your own peak performance times – most people have periods of high and low activity during the day, which depend on things like personal energy levels and family commitments

  • Scheduling breaks – studies suggest breaks help regulate the levels of dopamine, which plays a role in energy and motivation

  • Ensuring your schedule is adaptable – flexibility is key to working remotely. There will always be unexpected events, deadlines and changing priorities

“Remote working can be challenging – taking the time to review best practice and learn new ways of working effectively will pay dividends in terms of performance, productivity and your own mental health.”

Getting ‘re-accustomed’ to the ‘new normal’

Richard Guy, Country Sales Manager UK & I at Ergotron, predicts that it may be more difficult than we think to get re-accustomed to the office environment:

“What it means to work productively has changed significantly in recent months. The forced en-masse shift to homeworking has affected organisations and their employees enormously. For many, growing accustomed to this ‘new normal’ has required a lengthy ‘breaking-in’ process – indeed, some workers may still not feel acclimatised. The uprooting from one working environment to another will undoubtedly have inflicted some kind of effect on productivity levels – with distractions varying from children to homeschool to laundry to tackle.

“But as the workforce begins to migrate back to traditional workspaces, there will be a whole host of other distractions. For people who have become used to working in their own space, perhaps in silence, returning to a busy office environment will surely be quite a shock to the system. It will be more important than ever, therefore, for facilities managers to channel their focus into utilising the space and equipment in the office to create a resimercial workplace. Ergonomic furniture, such as sit-stand desks that provide the flexibility of changing positions throughout the day, allow employees to maintain movement whilst working, giving the body and mind a form of active recovery. Working as comfortably as possible, even while tackling the added challenge of returning to the workplace of old, is the first, clearest step to reboosting productivity levels among employees and organisations as a whole.”

Using the right tech

Tom CottonTom Cotton, Agile Workspace Technical Director at Six Degrees, looks into how investing in unified communications technology can help bring teams together even while working apart:

“The move to a new hybrid working model that combines remote and office-based working will be driven by a number of factors, not least people becoming accustomed to the lack of commuting and seeing more of their family. Many will not want to transition back to their old ways of working any time soon.

“Microsoft Teams usage has increased massively over the past few months. However, although Microsoft Teams has all the communication and collaboration functionality an organisation could ever want, it’s not enough for IT teams to simply deploy the software and leave their people to it.

“In order to maximise your Teams investment and ensure optimal productivity throughout your organisation, you should work to embed the software as part of your working culture. A carefully planned integration and ongoing user training for your Teams deployment are essential to successfully embedding the software as a key pillar of your new hybrid working model.”

The evolution of the contact centre

Martin TaylorThere has always been a strong focus on employee productivity in the contact centre industry, which employs more than four per cent of the UK working population. Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO at Content Guru explains:

“Traditional contact centres, with their surveillance-like atmospheres and restrictive breaks, could be described as the ‘mills of the modern age’. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has changed the industry significantly. The necessity for strict social distancing measures and fewer people in the same space makes the traditional contact centre a risky place to be and it is unlikely the ‘sheds’ of old will see widespread use ever again.

“In the contact centre industry, we won’t see a return to the ‘new normal’ – instead, the industry as a whole will evolve. We are already seeing the vast majority of contact centres going through this right now, by implementing remote working frameworks. How this has affected the productivity levels of employees will, of course, vary from individual to individual and contact centre operators need to be mindful of how their agents are managing this transition. Many employees may be worried about trying to work hours when they need to be keeping an eye on children, others may be concerned about receiving the same level of support at home as they would in the office.

“Investing in a cloud-based Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solution would provide continuous communication and monitoring between call agent and supervisor. Screen recording, for example, enables both supervisors to keep an eye on their agents in real-time, and agents to feel supported in their work. This kills two birds with one stone, as supervisors can be safe in the knowledge the same excellent standards of customer experience are being delivered, and call agents can be freed from any concerns that they don’t have the proper support to work as effectively at home as they would do in a contact centre environment. Ultimately, for an industry typically averse to change, it has never been clearer that increased employee productivity starts with effective communication.”

Focus on results over time

Brooke CandeloreSometimes it is more worthwhile to think about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) over how much time has been spent on a task, as Brooke Candelore, Product Manager at BrightGauge Software, a ConnectWise solution, questions:

“How many of us start our working day with a clear list of tasks that need to get done, only to find ourselves getting bogged down in a fire fight before we’ve had our first cup of coffee? And who wouldn’t say ‘yes please’ to significant periods of time to do Deep Work, and really focus on a demanding task without the constant pinging of messages? I think we’d all answer yes to both of those questions.

“This is where KPIs and metrics come into their own. It’s proven that whatever you track will improve. Improvement will come because KPIs drive action and provide clarity. A common question I’m asked is, ‘What metrics should I be tracking on a regular basis?’ There is no simple answer as it depends on a number of factors including what is most important to your bottom line, and what type of data is going to move the needle for your business.

"Events like World Productivity Day serve as a good reminder of the value of KPIs and underline that everyone within an organisation should have a number that they are responsible for. An accountable metric drives action. It should also be regularly measured and if it’s possible to do that in the broader context of the business’ KPIs as a whole, all the better. Data dashboards are a great way to do this. Not only will this show improvement, it will also deliver the clarity that helps business owners sleep better at night. And who wouldn’t say yes to a good night’s sleep?”


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Tech Nation growth programmes featured

Applications are now open for Tech Nation's three leading growth programmes

Tech Nation growth programmes

Applications are now open for Tech Nation’s three flagship growth programmes.

Catering for venture-backed and bootstrapped scaling startups and scaleups at Seed, Series A and Series B+ stages or equivalent, Rising Stars, Upscale and Future Fifty are each designed to provide tailored support key stage-specific growth challenges, as well as invaluable opportunities to network and consult with experts and peers.

Whether you’ve just raised Seed funding or are preparing for IPO, we have a growth programme for you.

Rising Stars is an exciting pitch competition for early-stage companies, designed to raise the profile of innovative tech companies across the UK. Entrants are supported throughout the application stage, finalists are chosen from each region of the UK and invited to pitch to a high profile panel of judges, in front of an audience of industry peers, investors and press.

Now entering its 5th year, our mid-stage programme Upscale helps the UK’s most promising tech companies accelerate their growth and unlock key scaling challenges. With an impressive list of scale coaches and experts, this established, curated programme is designed to reflect companies’ scaling journey.

Exploring fundamental growth challenges, Upscale includes sessions delivered by expert scale coaches who have been through it all, invaluable opportunities to network with peers and the prestige of becoming part of the Tech Nation Alumni. Previous Upscale cohorts have included Monzo and Bloom & Wild.

Now in its 8th year, our late-stage programme, Future Fifty, brings together the country’s most successful tech companies to build a powerful network and problem-solve with peers.

Future Fifty supports companies in achieving their global ambitions, creating jobs and opportunities across the UK, and inspiring the next generation of tech entrepreneurs, founders and businesses.

The Future Fifty alumni includes some of the most recognised tech companies, from Skyscanner and Farfetch, to Deliveroo and Funding Circle. Applications close on 5 November.

Speaking about the programmes, Mike Jackson, Entrepreneur Success Director said, "Tech Nation's 2019 annual report revealed that scaleup investment in the UK has hit a record high, increasing by an astonishing 61 per cent year-on-year."

"Nevertheless, challenges remain."

"For the UK to maintain its position as a scaleup nation and continue its global growth, we need to do more to curate learning opportunities and create fertile ground for even greater success in the future."

"These three growth programmes offer the support the tech companies of the future need, so UK tech can continue to compete on the global stage."

Find out more about the three programmes and apply here.


women-being-mentored-by-tech-role-model-featured

Effective approaches to mentoring women in tech

 

women being mentored by tech role model featured

Advice by BrightHR Head of Digital Experience, Anneka Burrett

An issue facing women in the tech industry today is the lack of good mentorship programmes.

This can be seen as a hindrance to their career growth. Although workplace conditions for women have come a long way, there’s still much progress to be made.

A women’s mentorship programme within a company can give all female employees the opportunity to offer or accept mentorship. This allows mentors to pass down the knowledge they’ve acquired over the years. It also allows mentees to learn new skills from women in leadership positions.

Issues facing women in tech

Women are still facing numerous problems in the workplace and most of all in the tech industry. Some of the issues women are currently facing include;

  • Wage and gender inequality – The gender pay gap has always been a topic of interest and attempts are being made to close the gap. Tech is another male dominated sector and women working in IT positions report gender inequality at a higher rate. 43% of women working in the industry report that their male counterparts are paid more without reason.
  • Work-life balance – Working mothers still go through the process of juggling their work and children because of a lack of flexible working options. 14 per cent of women working in tech report that there is a lack of a work and life balance.
  • Gender bias – According to a 2017 survey, 90 per cent of women working in tech say that they have experienced gender bias at some point in their career. Some employers are guilty of judging their employees on the gender rather than their professional qualifications. Women often report of employees doubting their abilities to address and resolve technical issues. Some women are being asked about their marital or parental status at job interviews.
  • Exclusion – Women are a big minority group in the tech industry. A survey by a charter dedicated to improving diversity in the tech industry found that only 17 per cent of tech workers in the UK are female.

Benefits of mentoring

There are countless advantages of mentoring, for the mentor, the mentee and for their employers.

  • Benefits to Mentors - Mentoring gives you the opportunity to give back, share your experiences and skills. It can also help to energise your career if you’re feeling stuck or in a rut. Passing on your knowledge to someone at a lower level can help you to realise why you initially wanted to work in that role.
  • Benefit to mentees - Mentoring increases self-confidence and personal satisfaction which can do wonders for your motivation and productivity. It also educates you on how to accept feedback. Receiving feedback on your communications, technical abilities or management skill can be hard should be taken on board.
  • Benefits to businesses - Businesses that encourage mentoring shows other employees within the company that they are willing to invest in their staff. While it shows company value, it also promotes loyalty as employees feel more valued which in turn contributes to reducing retention. It also promotes cooperation between employees across all levels.

Approaches to mentoring

  • Don’t be shy: In order to be noticed by potential mentors, you need to do something noteworthy. We should be confident enough in our abilities to speak up when we have something valuable to say. Or to ask to be on the best projects or the ones with growth opportunities.
  • Constructive criticism: No one appreciates criticism, but if it can help you improve or learn new skills then it’s worth it. In order to make the most of mentoring, you should admit that there are things that you don’t know but wish to. Asking questions like ‘what can I improve on?’ show your eagerness for feedback improves your skills.

Mentor

Positive female role-models in the data industry

Mentor

By Sarah Robertson, Experian

I remember as a child how much I enjoyed maths. 

I was lucky enough to go to a primary school that positively encouraged me to progress in a subject that has traditionally led to male-dominated job roles. That early support, along with strong female role models in my family, helped me grow in a subject I love and shaped my career in data.

However, many statistics are telling us that there are thousands of skilled, innovative and talented women out there who aren’t even considering a career in STEM, let alone data.  It’s clear to me that more support is needed to empower and encourage a new generation into the data science industry.  I’m a firm believer that we need to start working with girls at an early age to help breakdown the stereotypes and obsolete views that certain professions are gender-specific.

Take my son’s infant school, for example.  When he left in July, the school played a video showing what each child wanted to be when they were older.  Each answer lived up to a gender stereotype. It made me question how and why this happens, even in the most progressive households.  As a collective group, we need to broaden our children’s minds on the possible.  STEM careers of the future will only be more exciting, more varied, more significant to our digital, technological and data-driven society.

It is also important that we start encouraging girls to take risks, the same way we do with boys.  Girls should be brave, not perfect.  STEM subjects tend to have a right or wrong answer in early education, and if girls are not brave enough to be wrong, then they won’t challenge themselves with STEM subjects.  We must teach our daughters that it is OK to take risks.  It is OK to be wrong.  It is OK to learn something new.

Part of encouraging the next generation also means recognising and celebrating the achievements of the female role models working in data today.  Role models like Maggie Aderin-Pocock, who can inspire others and show them that a career in STEM is possible.  Having the chance to hear from these inspirational figures, what they love about their jobs, how they got there, and what they’ve overcome to achieve success is crucial.  Their stories can inspire the women of tomorrow to follow in their footsteps and to blaze their own trails.

However, we can’t rely solely on these well-known role models to single-handedly change an entire generation’s thinking.  We all have a responsibility to be role models in what we do.  More and more businesses are creating closer links with schools, colleges and universities giving the perfect opportunity to support younger people considering certain careers.  This is hugely important for girls wanting to get into STEM.

We’re in a stronger position than we’ve ever been before in the data industry, supported by some fantastic initiatives – like M&S, who recently announced their intention to turn more than 1000 of their staff into data scientists.  This is a huge step in the right direction, potentially opening doors for more women to find their passion in data science.

Despite still having a long way to go, we have made significant progress redressing gender imbalance in STEM, supported by a strong and passionate community.  I’m excited to continue doing my bit to encourage a new generation of girls to become part of the data revolution.

Sarah Robertson featuredAbout the author

In the early stages of Sarah’s career there was a clear lack of female role models working in the data industry, so she made it her mission to support the women that worked in her teams, as well as her peers and friends within the industry.

After Sarah graduated, she was unsure of what career to pursue but felt at the time IT was her preferred choice. This led to a temporary contract with IBM working in IT, but she quickly learnt that it wasn’t for her and started exploring jobs in statistics. She landed a role with a marketing agency in their analytics division and absolutely loved it! It was then that analysing data to understand consumer behaviour became a passion of hers. That was over 20 years ago and she’s never looked back.

Sarah is keen to address the imbalance of men and women across our industry, she is heavily involved in the event Women in Data UK and contributing to her current business on recruiting more females into data roles.