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Click Start-ing New Tech Careers in 2024 with TechUPWomen!

Photo: Tianyuan Sun

by Tejal Jain, TechUP Events and Communications Officer & Lynn Shipley, TechUP Administrator

With flowers blooming and spring just around the corner, launching the second year of the Click Start programme resonated well with the promise of fresh starts in tech for our new learners.

On 2 March, we welcomed our first cohort of learners this year with a host of activities in Durham University’s Teaching and Learning Centre.

Welcoming the first Click Start learners of 2024! Photo: Tianyuan Sun

Besides the participants, the event also served as an introduction to what it’s like being a part of the TechUPWomen community for Lynn and Tejal, the two newest members of the TechUP team (and co-authors of this blog!).

Though train cancellations and rail replacement services caused travel disruption on the day, energy was high with a mix of nervousness and excitement in the air as participants arrived on the morning of the event. 

A Tech-y Start

Professor Sue Black delivering her keynote. Photo: Tianyuan Sun

The day commenced with Professor Sue Black’s keynote ‘If I Can Do It, You Can Do It Too’, a crowd favourite that had participants visibly inspired by her story – from running away from home at 17 and navigating incredibly challenging circumstances to getting into tech along the way, playing a pivotal role in saving Bletchey Park and completing her PhD in Computer Science in her 30s!

While the overall schedule of the day closely resembled the welcome event held in 2023, we implemented some changes based on the feedback received from previous learners.

(Left to right) Professor Alexandra Cristea hosting the Meet the Tutor session
with tutors Grace, Banke and Uffa. Photo: Tianyuan Sun

One new introduction was a ‘Meet The Tutor’ session hosted by Professor Alexandra Cristea. It provided learners the opportunity to get to know all the tutors (rather than just their own) in an informal manner, gain insight into their individual career journeys leading to tech, and ask them any burning questions.

Then, to familiarise learners with the various software tools used throughout the programme, we had a ‘Getting Started’ session which was well-received.

This session provided hands-on assistance in setting up online accounts, mitigating potential obstacles encountered during the initial weeks of learning.  

Learners getting hands-on training of software used in the programme. Photo: Tianyuan Sun

Wrapping Up

In between these sessions, we broke out for a fun round of networking followed by a delectable spread of dishes for lunch that not only fuelled up our learners and team members for the latter half of the day, but also made lots of hungry students happy, as we invited them to share the leftover catering. 

After a busy afternoon, the Empower Hour session hosted by Gareth and Claire from Catch22 had learners laughing and relaxing, boosted their motivation, and got them moving with some great power poses!

(Left to right) Fireside Chat hosted by Professor Jacquie Robson
with alumni: Sophie, Molly and Cindy.
Photo: Tianyuan Sun

Professor Jacquie Robson hosted a Fireside Chat featuring three of our Click Start 2023 alumnae as panelists – Cindy Lai Chau, Molly Smailova, and Sophie Earl, in the final session before moving on to refreshments and networking.

After this, we closed the evening with people staying on to say goodbyes and taking a packed dinner home. The evening ended on a high, with learners and the TechUP team feeling well prepared and eager to ‘get cracking’ with classes the following week.   

Ready to start your tech journey? Apply now for upcoming Click Start 2024 cohorts!