Barclays logo, North West Women network

The network was founded in 2019 as part of a wider bank agenda to focus on Women in Technology. The network was founded out of our Technology Centre outside Knutsford.

The Network was founded to provide women working at this site with easy access to likeminded women, to help expand their networks and to fundamentally support and drive through the Gender Diversity Agenda at the site.  Nothing like this had previously existed.  The network created on site events to help women (and of course our male colleagues) in networking, meeting and collaborating in a face to face environment.

Now, in light of the Pandemic and the move of all our teams to working from home we have shifted our focus away from just the Technology Centre site to all of our sites in the North West. This also means that we have expanded our reach to our non technology colleagues. Barclays in the North West has a heavy Operational presence and so we felt that it was important to include them in our Network, not least because most of the content is valuable whether you are technology or not, but also because we are keen that we support the internal mobility of our colleagues from Operations to Technology careers.

What is your network’s prime objective?

The purpose of the Network is to bring together like minded people to collaborate and share ideas and initiatives with the intention to encourage women to pursue, develop, continue or initiate careers in technology.

How is your network helping women to progress in the workplace?

Our Network helps women progress in a number of ways:

  1. We share openly and honestly our success stories of women across the bank who have had varied careers in technology from the most senior MD’s to our junior Apprentices to demonstrate the wealth of different experiences and journeys. We hope this encourages other women to see their Career in different ways.
  2. Creating and supporting technology careers events by showcasing different areas of technology and the roles that exist there and what it means to work in those areas from people that already do.
  3. Running various events to support career progression for example the network supported a week long set of events across the spectrum of career development in October and we also created a set of events to support Ada Lovelace week in November.
  4. Delving into specific areas of concerns for women in technology. For example, running sessions on imposter syndrome or looking into why women may not be applying for senior roles within the organisation.
  5. We run monthly sessions to simply talk and share and collaborate on the key issues at the time, a fluid session that changes monthly.

All these events are aimed at empowering our Network to fulfil the career that they dream of having.

Tell us about your events?

Recently we ran a week of events to support Ada Lovelace week and this included:

  1. Interview style sessions with a group of women that we called “Our Ada Lovelace’s” where we shared career highs and lows with our audience.  We also showcased these women externally through linked in.
  2. A session focussed on the transition from AVP to VP level, a key career transition in Barclays. We heard from hiring managers, recent promotes and out internal talent team to help people considering this transition.
  3. A session on Salesforce ran by 3 women who had all transitioned back into technology after either periods of career break or who had never working in tech before! As well as sharing their journey they took the audience on an immersive journey on Salesforce and how to code it.

What advice would you give to anyone who is joining a network for the first time?

I would advise people to get involved, come to our sessions and be open. I think there is so much that this group can share and the strength we can achieve together in empowering and encouraging others should not be under-estimated.

Any top tips for new networkers? Why is building your network important?

Building a network is so crucial as you build out a career and like a career it is not something that happens overnight.  Your network grows as you grow and meet and work with more people.  However, in addition to this organic growth that happens over time I think people do need to be actively thinking about how they grow their networks more specifically to help them progress.  For too long women especially have been reticent to do this so we must encourage people to reach out and invite people to be part of their network and not be afraid to call out why, for example building a network with someone in an area that you ultimately would like to work in.

Finally, what’s next for your network?

So, through 2021 our focus is threefold:

  1. Widen our reach across the North West and outside of just Technology
  2. Focus more attention onto our junior members to ensure that we are growing our pipeline of budding technologists
  3. Continue to tap into the demand for our sessions and events by being creative and engaging.

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