Kate Mooney, Programme Design Lead at BT
Kate Mooney, Programme Design Lead at BT is passionate about apprenticeships. Kate leads a team that designs all the apprenticeship programmes within BT, and she is part of the independent employer panel that creates the industry benchmarks for quality tech and digital apprenticeships, Tech Industry Gold.
Kate originally joined BT as a Business Admin apprentice, working in a team that organised training events for employees across BT. It was meant to be a stop-gap solution, but she soon discovered that she really enjoyed the job. During her apprenticeship, she specialised in IT and took additional modules in software development. She then moved to a team that looked after training and set-ups for apprentices.
Since then, she has worked in different roles looking after the apprentices in BT and is now responsible for apprenticeship programme design and strategy, and looking at the stakeholder engagement with the different parts of BT.
Kate talked with the Tech Partnership about her thoughts on the role of women in tech, and specifically about female apprentices that she has worked with at BT.
Can you give us more information about female apprentices at BT?
People might be surprised at the range of jobs our apprentices do, with females working in a variety of roles, providing a very strong attention to detail and achieving very high standards.
How can the tech sector encourage more young women into tech/digital apprenticeships?
They are often surprised to find some stereotypes they might have had about working tech are challenged; they find that most tech jobs involve lots of team work, problem solving and looking after customers. BT was very involved working with other employers through the Tech Partnership to create TechFuture Girls clubs. Many BT coaches and apprentices, particularly female apprentices, are encouraged to go to their previous schools and talk about the opportunities available in the tech sector from doing an apprenticeship.
I am also aware that there have been studies around the wording used in job descriptions. We know that certain terminology can deter or attract females, and we need to be aware of this to avoid accidentally putting women off. The statistics show that there is has been a slight increase of female apprentices at BT over the last year, and we’re hoping to have a greater impact over the next few years.
What is your advice to young people, particularly women, who are considering undertaking a tech/digital apprenticeship?
I want young people to be aware that the tech and digital sector has a huge range of roles available to them – there really is something for just about everyone. Whether you are interested in working with customers, interested in business, or want to make society a better place, a career in technology can do that! I think we still have a lot more to do show people how apprenticeships give fantastic opportunities to go into a business and learn on the job whilst getting paid.
What do you see as the future of apprenticeships, particularly in the tech sector?
I believe that people’s views are changing as they see the huge range of roles that apprenticeships are going into these days. Having been involved with apprenticeships for so long, I can see that the perceptions have certainly improved over the last 10 years regarding the opportunities that are available, the sectors that are covered, and the levels that apprenticeships go to.
I think this is largely down to the promotion of apprenticeships from different sectors, especially the digital sector, by getting involved in awareness campaigns, seminars, national events at the NEC (National Apprenticeships Week) – those sort of things.
Another element that can help change the perception about apprenticeships is the new Degree Apprenticeships that are available from this year (2015). With Degree Apprenticeships, the debate or competition of degrees vs apprenticeships doesn’t apply. Young people will be doing both – they’ll be getting a degree as part of an apprenticeship through an organisation. That to me is a huge win.