Women in STEM, Apprentice Interview - Ruby Bedford

Introduction to Me:
My name is Ruby Bedford, and I am one of the FY17 technical apprentices at Microsoft. My job role is a Support Engineer, this means that I help our customers fix any issues they may be experiencing with one of our technologies. On a daily basis I am interacting with customers and troubleshooting their issues, this means I get a really deep dive into our technologies.

When did you start being interested in Technology?
I have always been really keen on technology; however, I think I became really passionate in year nine when I started to think about my GCSE choices. It was the first time I really had to think about what I was good at and what I enjoyed doing and it made me realise how much I loved my ICT lessons. Once I’d completed my GCSEs and I moved onto thinking about A Levels, carrying on with ICT was a no brainer. I had genuinely fallen in love with the subject and everything around it. By the time I was approaching the end of school life, along with everyone else I was thinking about what I wanted to do next. I was dead set, I wanted to go straight into the work place and have a career in technology. This is already the best decision I could have made!

Why do you think females are likely to pursue their career in STEM subjects?
I believe that females are likely to pursue their career in STEM subjects if this is what they have a passion for doing. As I previously mentioned, my passion was in technology from a young age and once I had decided I was going to work in this field nothing was going to stop me. As long as young girls are encouraged into STEM subjects and their passion isn’t discouraged, this will continue to be a reason for more females to join the sector.

What is your advice to young girls who are interested in STEM subjects but might feel like that field is not well-suited for females?
My advice would be to not let stereotypes or peer pressure hold you back. Being a girl in no way makes you less able to pursue or be the best at a career in a STEM subject, you must do what you love and not what you are told you should love.

What is your favourite thing about being a woman related to STEM-category?
I have two favourite parts about being a woman in the STEM-category.
The first is the great opportunities available. I’m able to write posts such as this and have had opportunities talking to really great people people. I recently met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to discuss girls in STEM Subjects, existing stereotypes around the topic and how we can overcome them and inspire girls to study STEM subjects.
My other favourite part is, by taking these opportunities I am able to become an ambassador for women in STEM subjects and spread the word that STEM subjects are not only for males. By showcasing Women in this sector, we are able to break through existing stereotypes and encourage other women into the field.

What is, from your perspective, the most challenging thing about being a woman related to STEM-category?
I think the most challenging thing about being a woman in the STEM-category is to consistently push to overcome the pre-existing stereotype. I don’t appear as your classic techy enthusiast, I’m blonde, girlie, and super socialable. Therefore, people assume that because I don’t fit the stereotype, I am not good at technology.
However, provided you display that although you don’t fit a stereotype, you are good at what you do, those around you will change their opinion or even rid themselves of their own stereotypical views.

What were your favourite subjects at school and how did it influence your decision to pursue a career in STEM?
As I have previously mentioned, by the time I was at GCSEs, ICT was a clear winner as my favourite subject. However, close behind this was History, Science, Maths and PE. Throughout my time at school, I went through many different career aspirations, from a lawyer to a physiotherapist. However, when I thought about it seriously, I realised I wanted to pursue the subject I love and was excelling at, technology.

How does Microsoft support your career in STEM? What does the company do to employ more females in STEM?
Microsoft are very supportive of my career in STEM subjects and always encouraging me to continue learning and growing my knowledge in the area. There is never a feeling of discouragement of discrimination against me as a woman in technology, instead Microsoft encourages its female employees to form a community and support each other in order to grow.
Microsoft do not discriminate in their application processes, provided you are the best fit for the job, your gender does not play a role in whether you get the job. I think this is an essential outlook to have in a recruitment process as it ensures you do not have a bias towards anyone.
Recently, Microsoft has made a commitment to recruit 30,000 digital apprentices through our network of 25,000 partners with a focus on women and minority groups being recruited in through this scheme, proving our commitment to women in STEM subjects.

Follow this link to find out more about International Women's Day and how to #MakeWhatsNext:

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