As a woman working in tech as part of a brilliant team of people from all over the world, listening to diverse voices and different perspectives is a subject close to my heart. LV= really understands the importance of championing Diversity & Inclusion, and what’s particularly exciting for me personally is the role that data science can play in making a real difference in this area. It can help to understand and evaluate where we are and where we’re going as a business, underpinning the listening and consultation that’s happening with groups and individuals. Putting this all together allows LV= to focus its efforts in the areas that matter most and really see and understand the improvements when they happen.
The partnership between LV= and the University of Bristol is a way of making a positive impact on our teams from the very start. The first part of our work is research – we work with many research groups, in departments across the University, collaborating with all kinds of people who are interested in employing data science to better improve their research. We’ve learnt a lot too – they’ve taught us techniques and new ways of doing things that have been really beneficial.
The second part is engagement with the students, which opens up the opportunity to recruit some amazing graduates from all sorts of backgrounds from medical science to e-commerce. There are now 14 people in the department in Bristol, and over half are graduates from the University of Bristol. We’ve been working to promote Data Science as an excellent career choice, equipping students with the skills they’ll need to transition into industry and answering any and all questions they might have about working in data science. We’re able to show them how data science is applied from an industry perspective, rather than an academic one – it’s the bridge between academia and real life.
The future for the partnership is hugely exciting – we’ve co-designed and co-delivered a Data Science Level 7 DS apprenticeships programme that will launch soon, and we’re making connections all over the University. For me personally, I’m currently doing a part time PhD as part of the partnership, and a number of others in the team are also looking at undertaking one in the future. My Research Masters was in marine geology and geophysics, so I have an interest in natural disasters, how we react to them and how we assess them. My PhD will look at applying data science to determine the vulnerability of structures to flooding. Obviously, this is hugely relevant and interesting to the insurance industry and will help us to understand more about different environmental risks and urban planning.
Our team has a 30/70 split of women to men. This is a great start but as a team we’d love to see that increase to reflect the 50/50 split of the general population, which is a challenge in tech industries. I believe it’s about engaging girls early in maths, science and problem solving, framing it in a way that makes it feel fun and exciting and inclusive and then ensuring that currently underrepresented (be that gender or any other form of diversity) careers feel transparent, accessible and inclusive.
My advice to female grads wanting to get into Data Science is – be brave. Do what you enjoy, don’t be put off by any non-inclusive image that remains, we’re here and we’re making a difference. By doing what you enjoy you’re helping future young women feel confident that they can do it too. Never underestimate the value and perspective you can bring. Be inquisitive and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The opportunities are there, and there’s never been a better time to be a woman in tech.
Chloe Young, Data Engineer
To find out more about working in Data Science at LV= GI or email DSResourcing@lv.co.uk if you have any questions.