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MSP partners pioneering project to promote women in tech

MSP's Director of Development, Marianne Whitfield

A business whose software is changing the way the manufacturing industry operates around the world has joined a pioneering new project to encourage women to re-train in the digital sector.

MSP has become a partner of the newly-launched TechUP project, which will give 100 women across the North and Midlands the chance to pursue opportunities in the digital and tech sector by learning new skills.

Alnwick-based MSP - which works with global businesses including BAE Systems and three leading Formula 1 racing teams - is one of 16 industry partners involved in TechUP, which is led by Durham University. Durham’s Professor Sue Black, a pioneer of women in technology and founder of #techmums and BCSWomen - the UK’s first online network for women in tech - is running the programme on the university’s behalf.

Professor Black’s own career had an unconventional start after leaving school at 16 and becoming a single mum of three by the age of 25. She returned to education at 26 and graduated with a degree in computing, followed by a PhD leading to her academic career.

MSP’s role in TechUP has seen the company, which has a long-standing commitment to promoting opportunities in the software engineering sector, help devise course content for the programme. The firm will also provide mentoring to women throughout their time on the course.

The project, which also involves Edge Hill, Nottingham and York universities, has received over £500,000 from the Institute of Coding, and is open to women with degrees in any subject.

The six month online programme covers modules including data science, machine learning, project management and public speaking skills. At the end of the course, participants will have the opportunity to interview with a company for a job, internship or apprenticeship.

Online learning is supplemented with four residential weekends where participants will have the chance to network with other learners and listen to industry-led talks.

Marianne Whitfield, Director of Development at MSP, who has worked in the tech sector for over 20 years, said:

"The digital and tech sector is growing rapidly around the world, with the UK and indeed the North East playing a central role in that. While it remains a particularly male-dominated sector, it is fantastic to see so many women building highly successful careers working in tech, and TechUP will help even more women do that. By offering the opportunity to retrain in such a dynamic and fast-changing sector, which has many transferable skills, the career possibilities are vast.

As a leading name in the region’s software and advanced manufacturing sector, which incidentally has more women than men on our board of Directors, we are delighted to give our support to TechUP and look forward to playing a role in inspiring female tech stars of the future."

Applications are now open. Apply here.

For more information about the programme and the application process, email ioc.techup@durham.ac.uk , call 0191 334 2554, or visit https://www.dur.ac.uk/arc/ioc/