DAS teams up with Merchants’ Academy for webinar to inspire young women


Authored by DAS

DAS are really proud to have delivered a webinar to students at Merchants’ Academy Bristol to provide insight in to a career as a woman in the technology, data and change industry.

The panel of women from DAS UK’s Technology, Data & Strategic Change teams:

  • Zoe Wall – Property Programme Co-ordinator
  • Rose-Marie Nutt – Information Security Officer
  • Gemma Hall – Reporting & Analytical Engineer
  • Josie Stone – Business Analyst
  • Samantha Ratcliffe – IT Operations Lead
  • Becky Powell – Application Developer

We asked the panellists a number of questions and it was really clear that a variety of career routes had got our panellists to the roles they are in today, an example can be found below:

  • Rose-Marie Nutt started her career as a nanny for a US Senator and after various different roles, many of which have been in technology, is now the Information Security Officer at DAS.
  • Gemma Hall started on the IT helpdesk and progressed through a number of roles identifying that the visual side to presenting data was where her passion was and she is now a Reporting & Analytical Engineer at DAS.
  • Becky Powell found that there were limited opportunities to study IT at school so initially started her career in HR but having been involved in a project to create a performance system decided to take a route into developing. Becky is now an Application Developer at DAS.

Top Tips

The panellists were asked to share a ‘top tip’ or something they wish they had known when they were starting out:

Zoe Wall spoke about how important she thinks it is to be proud of the work that you do and your achievements and to not be afraid to celebrate your wins. It can also be really useful to find a mentor in the industry.

Samantha Ratcliffe reflected that being willing to work hard, listen to people and open to learning has helped throughout her career. She has had a variety of roles through her career at DAS and not always roles she had thought she would work in. In technology, Sam has found that no two days are ever the same which keeps the role interesting.

As a Business Analyst, Josie Stone enjoys the spectrum of work and interaction across all parts of the business. She found that qualifications provided the confidence boost in the role she is in, but that these aren’t always necessary.

Certainly a theme that was consistent throughout the panellist’s experiences was being willing to try new things, listening and learning areas of a business or technology to decide which parts interest you. A key message to the students is to have confidence in your own ability and not be afraid to ask questions.

Our panel are encouraged that through their careers they have seen a shift to a more gender balanced team with an increase of women in leadership positions in technology but there is still much work to do in this space. According to Deloitte’s ‘Women in Tech Industry’ Article, in 2022 the percentage of women in large tech companies sits at 25%. The difference between women in the workforce and those explicitly working in tech is almost 7.9%.

Research in the US concludes that among other initiatives, having a role model is more likely to result in young women being inspired to move into a career in technology.

The importance of role models to women in technology:

Research in the US has found that girls who are encouraged by a role model are more likely to major in computing or programming. (Source: Cracking the Gender Code, Girls Who Code)

Of girls who majored in computing, 62% had a role model to encourage them

We received the below feedback following the webinar:

“This session has been an opportunity to explore different jobs and roles inside of the technology world. Also, having the knowledge of different jobs has been wonderful. All of the staff members were also honest and open about their own experiences with different jobs”
Student, Merchants’ Academy

“It was really helpful to hear about the experiences of the women in the tech jobs but also quite reassuring to find out more about things that aren't talked about a lot. For example, that there's not huge pressure on having qualifications to apply for their jobs.”
Student, Merchants’ Academy

“I found that it was really informative and insightful to know people's first-hand experience into the technology and business field. It has given me the confidence to research and go more in-depth into this specific industry.”
Student, Merchants’ Academy

“Thank you so much to DAS for inspiring our learners at Merchants’ Academy. Very few females take ICT based subjects at Key Stage 4 compared to males and DAS’s commitment to supporting young women will have a huge impact in breaking gender inequality. We look forward to working with you more in the future”
Amy Durbin,  Head of Student Voice at Merchants’ Academy

We hope the webinar is just be the first step in our relationship with Merchants’ Academy and their students to showcase this career path. Where possible DAS will support work experience placements through 2023.

DAS is committed to supporting greater diversity in the areas of technology, data and strategic change.

Matt Allam – Director Technology, Data & Strategic Change and Executive Sponsor of the Spark Network reflects on the importance of DAS’ relationships with local schools in driving the agenda of diversity in this area of the business

“Technology, data and the ability to manage change are such vital elements of both modern life and business. This will not change and will only accelerate. Today there is a dearth of female talent in many of these disciplines – not because it doesn’t exist – but because it is not being channelled into these critical areas. The future boardroom will increasingly have technology, data and change leaders at the table – it is therefore vital to delivering gender equality that we encourage and support girls and young women to work in these areas. I am delighted that our team, supported by Merchants’ Academy, have held this webinar. I look forward to working with them, other schools and the wider community in trying to drive further diversity in these disciplines and in our business.” Matt Allam


About DAS Group

The DAS UK Group comprises an insurance company (DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Company Ltd), a law firm (DAS Law), and an after the event (ATE) legal expenses division.

DAS UK introduced legal expenses insurance (LEI) in 1975, protecting individuals and businesses against the unforeseen costs involved in a legal dispute. In 2018 it wrote more than seven million policies.

 The company offers a range of insurance and assistance add-on products suitable for landlords, homeowners, motorists, groups and business owners, while it’s after the event legal expenses insurance division offers civil litigation, clinical negligence and personal injury products. In 2013, DAS also acquired its own law firm – DAS Law – enabling it to leverage the firm’s expertise to provide its customers with access to legal advice and representation.

 DAS UK is part of the ERGO Group, one of Europe’s largest insurance groups (the majority shareholder in ERGO is Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurers).