Finding the career path of your dreams is by no means easy, and so Suzanne Pritchard, part of our Product team, is using her 'Donate a Day to Charity' to spend time working with her local school to inspire the next generation.
There are countless women who have made outstanding contributions to the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths, from Ada Lovelace: The World's First Computer Programmer, to Hedy Lamarr: The Inventor of WiFi. However, only 24% of the UK STEM workforce is made up of women, which shows that more work still needs to be done to reverse the mystification that it is all about all hard hats and overalls and to re-enforce the vital role that STEM plays in the world today. It has never been a more exciting time to work in the technology sector, with digitalisation changing our lives in so many ways that we couldn’t have predicted.
As a female just starting out in the industry, I couldn’t resist the offer to take advantage of my ‘Donate a Day to Charity’ to ‘give a TrustQuay hand’ and speak about my experiences so far at a careers day at my old secondary school. I strongly believe that young women especially would benefit from more role models that they can relate to and that women in technology need to be a natural thing and not something special.
At the careers day, I will discuss how I have never formally planned my career, but always enjoyed science and technology, and always loved solving problems and asking questions. Following A levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and French this, therefore, led me to study Food Science at university in order to be at the centre of product development and key research. A major drawing point for me was also the opportunity to spend a year in industry to explore different departments and build my transferable skills, which was a key experience that I would like to encourage others to pursue. It unearthed my passion for both project and product management and has led to me going from developing and launching new coffee products to building the next generation of TrustQuay software.
Given how much time we spend working in our lifetime, it has always been an aim of mine to really enjoy whatever I do. I would therefore like to encourage others to have a passion and not be afraid of going down a few career paths before turning back and having a go at something else. Talented women in technology are in high demand, so I would like to urge other women to use this to their advantage and have the confidence and self-belief to go after what they believe in.
The key take-away messages that I'll aim to highlight at the careers day will be to become a lifelong learner with a curious and inquisitive mindset, and to be your own champion without the need to rely on external validation and recognition of your abilities. I want to encourage girls to be curious, persistent, ask a lot of questions and never be afraid to fail in particular. I will reinforce that no matter what career path is taken:
“Working hard for something we don't care about is called stress: Working hard for something we love is called passion”
- Simon Sinek
Giving back to the community through events such as these not only helps to open the minds of others to careers not previously considered but is also thoroughly rewarding personally and something I very much look forward to doing much more of as part of TrustQuay's community and charitable efforts.
Suzanne is Product Manager at TrustQuay