The boss of a female-led managed service provider has spoken of the difficulties of attracting female technical talent to its team.
AAG, which is based on the outskirts of the Peak District, has just taken on its first female engineer in the form of Georgia Haywood (pictured). In her post of apprentice support engineer, she will study for her Level 3 in IT as a Microsoft Technology Associate.
Three of AAG's four-strong management team are women, but CEO Alex Greaves admitted such gender balance has been difficult to replicate across the business, which employs just over 30 staff.
"I've done a couple of projects with schools and when I look at the number of girls coming through on the engineering side, I don't think it's promoted enough in schools, and that's where the imbalance comes from," she said. "At junior school, you see girls as interested in technology as boys, but when it gets to senior school it becomes less attractive to girls, as it's seen as geeky."
Alongside Greaves, AAG's executive team also includes FD Michelle Walker and HR and business support manager Cathy Hinsley.
Greaves emphasised that the gender mix of AAG's executive team is more by chance than something it set out to do.
"We want to get the mix right; it's not something that we shout about and say 'we must have more women in here'," she said. "We are keen to encourage female participation across the board in our business, and up until now, for the engineering team, there just didn't seem to be anyone coming from a female IT background. So it was really refreshing to see an apprentice, a young girl, who was really keen and who had a good skill set. The feedback from the engineering team that also interviewed her was exceptional."
Founded in 2009, AAG's flagship customers include Slimming World, with which it won a £5m tablet deal in 2014.
Greaves said AAG still supplies the weight-loss club with bespoke tablets, but stressed that AAG is moving away from its product roots.
"Our real focus is on the managed services and recurring revenue side of the business," she said. "We have really pulled away from the reseller side of the business."
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