Sure has introduced the first bursary of its kind in Jersey for female students that are looking to study a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) related degree at university.
The bursary, which is now open for applications, has been developed by Sure to diversify the gender balance within the local telecoms and technology sectors and increase the island’s digitally skilled workforce.
One local student will be selected and will receive £1,500 a year to support their studies over a three-year degree. Additionally, the student will undertake six weeks’ paid work experience at Sure every year throughout the bursary as well as receiving ongoing support from female mentors in senior positions at Sure.
Lucienne De La Mare, HR director at Sure, said: “This bursary aims to inspire female students to consider the great opportunities available through studying a STEM subject at university.
“We need more women in technology as, according to Women in Tech, female representation in the sector has stalled over the last decade. Within telecoms and technology women make up just 22% of the UK workforce, according to the 2018 Labour Force survey. At Sure 28% of employees are female but this includes only 5% of our engineering and technical staff. 33% of Sure’s senior leadership roles are held by women.
“Stereotypes and prejudice are sadly still hurdles that women have to overcome in the industry but our bursary, with paid work experience and ongoing support from female mentors at Sure to create an invaluable network of women working in tech, are just some of the ways that we are trying to break down these barriers.”
Tony Moretta, CEO of Digital Jersey, said: ‘It’s a landmark year for Jersey’s efforts to grow digital skills right across the island, which is why we are delighted to support Sure’s Women In Tech bursary scheme.
“Skills development is going to be key to Jersey’s economic growth, and in the year we open the Digital Skills Academy, Sure’s new bursary is a great way of increasing the digital expertise and range of technology skills we have on the island to support our digital sector.”
The new bursary complements Sure’s existing Sure Academy scheme which is a two-year paid employment programme offering school and college leavers the opportunity to gain practical training, an internationally recognised qualification and a high-quality experience that will lead to an exciting and challenging career.
The company is also launching its first Graduate Scheme this year for local students interested in a digital career. Graduates will gain practical training covering business areas such as cloud services and professional services and have the opportunity to study for professional qualifications over the two year scheme.
“Sure is proud to offer a number of opportunities for people to pursue a career in telecoms and technology and we actively encourage young people to consider working in the sector through our Sure Academy, work experience programmes and presentations at careers fairs and schools,” said Lucienne.
“The States of Jersey is actively working to develop a digital economy in the island so increasing the size of the talent pool to ensure we have the professionals to work in the variety of roles required will be vital. This bursary will go some way to help equip our local workforce with the STEM-related skills needed.”
WISE, a UK organisation which enables people in business, industry and education to increase the participation, contribution and success of women in STEM, promotes the business case for diversity in companies within the sector.
“We value diversity in our business and our goal with this bursary is to support and encourage women who want to pursue careers in the technology and engineering sectors,” said Graham Hughes, chief executive of Sure in Jersey.
“WISE has noted the importance of having an increased choice of skilled workers in an industry where there is a skills shortage and that diversity leads to increased innovation and creativity which is necessary to meet new challenges. They’ve found that organisations that lead the way on gender diversity often also lead on performance and even profitability.”
Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in executive teams are 21% more likely to have financial returns above their industry’s national median than companies in the fourth quartile, according to a 2018 report by McKinsey & Co.
“Diversity also leads to a better customer experience. 50% of all users and purchasers of technology are women – that’s half of our customer base. Having a business that reflects our consumers is so important to understand and cater to all of them.”
Students that would like to apply for the bursary must be planning to go to university in September 2019 and will need to send their CV and a cover letter to [email protected] by Thursday 28 February 2019. Interviews will be undertaken in March 2019 and an offer to successful candidates will be made by the end of the month.
The bursary will also be run in Guernsey and the Isle of Man.