Firebrand apprentice Kimberley Bolton is blazing a trail for all young women currently considering a career in IT. The 19 year old from Maidenhead made history last week after becoming the first woman to win a Microsoft Apprentice of the Year award. It is an important milestone in an industry where women make up less than 20% of the workforce.
Kimberley was chosen from 1,000s of apprentices on the Microsoft program to win in the ‘Medium Business Category’. Working as a Junior Support Consultant for Pythagoras, she was nominated by her employers in recognition of her positive attitude and hard work. After winning the award Kimberley said:
“Becoming an IT apprentice is the best thing I‘ve ever done. I‘ve gone from having no confidence and no IT knowledge to winning Microsoft Apprentice of the Year. I‘ve really had to push myself, and now it‘s all paid off.”
Kimberley’s achievement is a ray of light in an industry where gender remains a significant and worsening issue. A recentreport by BCS estimates less than 16% of the 1.2 million working in the UK IT industry are women. This number will decline further if the downward trend of female pupils studying ICT at GCSE and A Level continues.
Firebrand Training’s UK Managing Director, Emma Seaman said:
“If we are to reverse the downward trend of young women taking an interest in IT then we must break the stereotype that ‘IT is for geeks‘. Role models like Kimberley play a crucial role in breaking down this misconception and inspiring the future generation of female IT professionals.“
Attending the ceremony, Home Secretary Theresa May shared her opinion on apprenticeships with Firebrand:
“Apprenticeships are incredibly important in helping young adults to develop skills in the workplace. Apprenticeships are hands-on and so much more about understanding what the working environment is all about.“