24-year-old Natasha Smethurst joined FDM in 2016 after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in Spanish and Tesol. She joined on the Project Support Office stream in the Leeds Academy where she pursued her passion for business and IT, whilst developing her advocacy for Women in Tech. She shares her FDM journey with us, including her highlights of travelling abroad and her plans for the future in promoting female careers in the IT industry.
Why did you chose to join FDM?
One of the most immediate things I recognised with FDM was its culture and commitment to diversity and inclusivity, something that echoes my morals. I love that they feel everyone should be given an equal chance to follow their career aspirations. I was inspired by IT professionals that I had been following and decided to join FDM on the PSO stream. I felt this stream matched my strengths and skills the best, and I knew project management would be something I would find both challenging and fulfilling.
Where have you been placed?
I have now been working at DWP for over a year on the largest IT project in the department which is a digital workplace release. It’s been great to be a part of the project from its infancy and I’m excited to be seeing it through until the end. I have had my contract extended multiple times, so it’s nice to be recognised for my performance. I’ve even had the opportunity of working with some of the most senior stakeholders!
What advice do you have for women joining the tech industry?
My main advice is to talk to people who are already in the sector! Attend networking and recruitment events and ask as many questions as possible; you will be welcomed with open arms. FDM have really encouraged my passion of women in tech and I am keen to be an ambassador to help other females take that step into a career in this industry. I am so inspired by the intelligent and powerful women in this industry and I hope to be one of these inspirations in the future and introduce females to this fascinating and fast-paced industry. I want to spread the word that IT is for both sexes and show the types of amazing work you can get involved in when working in technology.
What is your advice on international working opportunities?
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Singapore, where I spent some time visiting the FDM academy. My academy trainer Nigel was working there so he gave me a tour. It was great to speak to those in the academy about my experience with FDM. I had previous experience working abroad during my degree, where I worked in Madrid. I know just how useful working abroad is, it demonstrates to employers your adaptability to other cultures and you will meet amazing people and improve your language skills. I would always encourage people to work internationally if they can, and it’s great to know that FDM can offer these opportunities!
What are your plans for the future?
I am keen to work on initiatives, campaigns and projects that encourage more women into the technology sector. I aspire to be an advocate for women in tech and I plan to create strong support networks and forums with current and aspiring females in technology. I also want to be a mentor to FDM consultants, just as I have one myself.