International Women's Day - #InspireInclusion

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As part of International Women’s Day Elke Suttmöller, Regional Manager Consultancy Germany, shares her experience of inspiring inclusion in the workplace.

"I have been working in the consultancy environment at Computacenter for almost 24 years. In various (management) roles, I have trained numerous colleagues over the years and accompanied them on their way. My professional focus was on ITIL and IT processes. With colleagues who are working with more technology-related topics, I have always noticed that women are just as good at these topics as their male colleagues. I get the impression that sometimes they are just less confident and that more having more female role models and support can help.

Being able to pass on my knowledge and supporting young people as a mentor has always been important to me. The promotion of women in the IT sector in particular is a matter close to my heart, and I am continuously committed to this. This is what inspired me to be one of the initiators of the Computacenter Lateral Entry Programme for the Consultancy division. In this programme and beyond, I can provide targeted support to young colleagues and enable young talents who previously had little or no experience with IT to join the IT industry.

This year is the third time we have run the programme at Computacenter in Germany. So far, 27 colleagues have found their way into the IT industry as a result of the programme, 24 of them being women. The majority of the participants now have roles in the Consultancy division and advise our customers on a wide range of IT topics. One of the participants from the very first lateral entry programme has just held an introductory Linux training course for the current lateral entrants with great success and excellent feedback. This not only shows that the lateral entry programme works well, but also how quickly the colleagues can take on responsible tasks.

I am so happy that I am able to support young female colleagues and motivate them, even after the Lateral Entry Programme. It is still not the rule in the IT industry for women to take the path towards a career in consulting. And the path is sometimes a little rockier than for male colleagues, because it can still happen that women have to work harder to gain professional acceptance. I spoke to Elena Bogomolov, who is part of our Lateral Entry Programme this year. When asked what inspired her to apply for our programme, Elena says: "The Lateral Entry Programme gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in the world of IT, which previously seemed far away to me. But the variety of technologies has captivated me, which makes me confident that I can grow at Computacenter not only on a professional level, but also personally."

#InspireInclusion is the motto of International Women's Day 2024, and I don't think there's a better way to put it. We can all inspire others to promote inclusion in all areas of diversity. I can only encourage everyone to champion diversity in the workplace - and of course to support women in the IT industry in particular. My endeavour and that of Computacenter is to continue to increase the proportion of female colleagues, especially in the more technical areas. This is what I stand for and what I am consistently committed to. I hope that through our initiative we can encourage many more women to take the plunge into IT careers - even without much IT experience in the past.

Elke Suttmöller

Regional Manager Consultancy Germany

Co-initiator of the IT lateral entry programme Consultancy at Computacenter in Germany

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