BT, Vodafone, Virgin Media O2 and HSBC UK sponsor Girls Talk London's Step Up talent accelerator

Women in tech green 16.9.jpg

Girls Talk London, a gender equality organisation, has partnered with BT, Vodafone, Virgin Media O2 and HSBC UK to launch a technology talent accelerator - Step Up.

“Girls Talk London are excited to partner with HSBC UK, BT, Vodafone and Virgin Media O2 to support female students in the UK and Ghana with their career aspirations to work in technology," said Vanessa Sanyauke, CEO and founder of Girls Talk London.

"Our mission is to give women access to male dominated sectors, make them more inclusive and break down the doors so that women are able to have fruitful and successful careers where they can thrive. Step UP is an excellent continuation of the work we have been doing to increase the representation of women in technology for the past 9 years. “

The virtual six-month programme taking place between January-June 2022, is aimed at female university students in the UK and Ghana, pursuing a career in technology. Through the scheme will provide the final 88 female university students access to professionals and skills development training in support of their technology careers.

“At Vodafone one of our three purpose pillars is centred around ‘Inclusion for All’, whereby we are committed to developing a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the customers and societies we serve," Kerry Small, commercial & digital sales director, Vodafone Business.

"We want to be recognised as the world’s best employer for women by 2025 and have 40% of management roles held by women by 2030, and one of the ways in which we can support this journey as a company is by sponsoring the Girls Talk London ‘Step Up’ programme, which I see as a fantastic development opportunity to support and motivate young women to pursue their ambitions of working in technology.”

Specifically, participants will receive one-to-one mentoring, monthly skills development masterclasses led by prominent industry professionals as well as an exclusive two-day virtual Tech Summit where they can network with senior leaders and recruiters from the aforementioned sponsoring businesses.

"As a technology company, BT has a responsibility to play a role in helping to close the gender skills gap in technology. The telecommunications industry gender pay gap average is 11.6% and the UK average is 15.5%; while BT’s pay gap is significantly lower, there is still a gap we need to close and we are continuing to double our efforts to close this internally and externally," said Sara Heaven, digital enablement director at BT.

"Our ongoing partnership with Girls Talk London signifies the importance in our shared ambition to support and encourage women in technology. The ‘Step Up’ programme is a brilliant initiative with the potential to help tackle the gender gap in our industry and in the UK, and we’re excited to help these women kick start their technology careers."

According to a 2021 from the, women make up just 26.7% of technologists — a 2.1% decline in representation compared to 2020 and a downturn following five years of progress. As such, Step Up aims to remove the barriers faced by women by connecting them to like-minded peers, mentors and access to recruiters in some of the world's leading technology companies.

“The adage is right; you can’t be what you can’t see. And with fewer women entering and staying in STEM roles, it’s clear the tech industry needs to take action to attract, retain and advance women in their careers to reverse this negative trend," said Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2.

“That’s why Virgin Media O2 is proudly partnering with Girls Talk London’s ‘Step Up’ programme to support and cultivate the next generation of women into technology roles and technical leadership."

Capacity is now accepting entries for its annual 20 Women to Watch power list! Click here to nominate a female executive from across the wholesale telecoms sector deserving of a place on this list.