Girls and young women in Leeds get insight into tech careers with help from Stemettes

Emma Harvey and Merissa Brown.
Emma Harvey and Merissa Brown.

Leeds is set to play host to two high-profile events that will give girls and young women the chance to tap into vital knowledge about careers in the world of technology.

The events have been organised as part of a link-up between NHS Digital, NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and an award-winning social enterprise called Stemettes.

Stemettes works across the UK, Ireland and beyond to inspire and support young women who are considering pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers.

The first event is a panel discussion entitled Meet The Stemettes, which will be held at the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds from 11am to 2pm this Saturday, October 27.

Panellists will talk about their own STEM-related careers and there will also be an opportunity to find out more about apprenticeships, A-level choices, university degrees and work experience.

A hackathon event will then take place at NHS Digital’s offices on Trevelyan Square in Leeds city centre from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, November 24.

Girls and young women aged from five to 21 are being encouraged to attend the events, both of which are free.

The panel at the Thackray Medical Museum discussion will include Eva Morris, a professor of cancer epidemiology at the University of Leeds, and Emma Bowyer, from medical company DePuy.

A number of staff from NHS Digital will also be on the panel, including deputy head of user research Rochelle Gold, winter pressures programme head Rachel Habergham and junior user researcher Merissa Brown.

Reflecting on her role at the organisation, Merissa said: “I really wanted to work in health care because it makes me feel that I am doing something worthwhile.

“It feels really good to know you are helping people, even though you are not on the frontline.

“We are all about driving innovation and that is what is producing better outcomes for patients.”

Speaking about the link-up, Isabel Hunt, director of improvement at NHS Digital, said: “We are proud to be working in partnership with NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and Stemettes on these events, which will not only promote STEM subjects and careers to girls and young women, but also promote health and tech careers, and the careers at NHS Digital, as an exciting and rewarding prospect.”

Pre-booking is essential for both events, search under ‘stemettes’ on Eventbrite for further information.

Girls and young women thinking about attending have been encouraged to sign up by NHS Digital’s head of product management, Emma Harvey.

She says tech provides opportunities for “incredibly diverse” careers and a chance to be “creative in a way that people might not expect”.

Emma joined NHS Digital two years ago and today is tasked with building products that are evidence-based and have real value for the health service.

“You are never going to be bored working for the NHS,” she said. “It is surprisingly creative and the systems we work with here are huge and the audience is of course massive.”

NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner of the health and care system and employs 2,000 people across four sites in Leeds.