Image courtesy of Network Rail
Network Rail’s Could IT Be You? Contest winner was announced as Talia Grantham from Northampton. This is the third year of the competition, launched to encourage women to enter the IT sector. As it stands at the moment, only 13% of IT-related degree courses in the UK are women, representing a half of the number of women working in IT in the 1980s.
Talia Grantham beat 350 contestants to win a paid work placement at Network Rail’s national centre in Milton Keynes, a year’s coaching and mentoring from their IT team, and a financial prize to cover her first year’s university fees. The competition involved assessments on creativity, communication and presentation skills. Finalists also had the opportunity to meet with rail industry workers to learn more about IT and technology related jobs.
Talia Grantham said:
“I’m really interested in a career in business strategy, but I hadn’t really thought about opportunities in IT until now. Meeting the people at Network Rail really opened my eyes to the massive role IT plays in our daily lives and how it keeps our rail network running each day. The people at Network Rail have a really varied background and there’s a huge variety of skills needed to work in IT that aren’t necessarily computer related.
“It’s great that Network Rail has run a competition like this as it really does open your eyes to all the possibilities that are out there and I will definitely consider an IT career now. I’m really looking forward to doing my work experience at Network Rail in the summer and, of course, starting my degree course in September.”
The five runners-up were Amrita Panesar from Buckinghamshire, Eliza Short from South Gloucestershire, Abigail Richards from Birmingham, Ashley de Haye from Oxford and Taylor Hartnell from Berkshire who will all receive a week’s paid work experience and a year of coaching and mentoring with the Network Rail IT team.
Creator of the competition, and Network Rail director responsible for shared services including IT, Susan Cooklin, said:
“We created this competition as a way to challenge the misconceptions young girls have about IT and to help them understand how exciting a career in IT can be. Technology is a vital part of all of our lives and it has been fantastic to see the ideas that these young women have had for using it to make life better in the future. This is the kind of innovation that we’re encouraging here at Network Rail as we continue our £40bn Railway Upgrade Plan to build a bigger, better railway for the growing number of people who rely on the railway each day.
“I look forward to welcoming Talia and the competition runners-up to Network Rail in the summer when they’ll be able to see first-hand how we’re using innovative technology to create the railway Britain needs for the future.”
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