Here at TalkTalk Business – and across the wider TalkTalk Group – we’re proud to be a forward-thinking, equal opportunities employer. Our people are our greatest asset, and we’re passionate about giving every one of our colleagues the support they need to thrive in their career. We also know that there’s a gender imbalance across the telco sector, which is why we’re committed to supporting women in tech, and doing everything we can to empower the brilliant female talent we have in every area of our business.

One of the ways we're doing this is through our Women in Leadership apprenticeship programme, an initiative that TalkTalk created in partnership with Raise the Bar last year. The purpose of the programme is to inspire, motivate and empower our current female leaders to remove some of the barriers they may encounter in the workplace, and it’s already had a huge impact on learners throughout the business since it was launched it in September 2021.

As well as the qualification standards, the programme addresses imposter syndrome, the power of female rage, dealing with unconscious bias, believing your inner voice and championing yourself. It also covers ‘taboo’ topics such as stereotyping, menopause, ‘hepeating’ and progressing your career after maternity.

The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. All participants have reported an increase in confidence and we’ve seen some amazing examples of where they have applied their learnings in the workplace to achieve positive outcomes. Better yet, a number of them have secured promotions since starting the course, which we are thrilled about!

Rebecca Armstrong, TalkTalk’s Early Careers Manager, oversees apprenticeship programmes in the business, including Women in Leadership. She caught up with some of those enrolled in the initiative to find out what they’ve taken from it, so read on to learn more about their experience.

Charlotte Edwards, Head of Billing

We are only about a quarter of the way through the programme and I’ve already taken away so much from it. Self-awareness has been one of the most valuable learnings: it’s empowered me to be selfish with 'my time' in a positive way. It means I can more effectively move my team forward with our objectives, evidencing and celebrating progress and gaining clarity on what is important.

Two other valuable benefits have been getting to network with the cohort of women I’m on the programme with, and being able to practise using well-used tools and techniques as we learn together. Being able to grow alongside these women is a privilege – they challenge me to think differently. Women in the tech industry are still a minority, and this apprenticeship allows us to share our experiences and lift one another up.

Samantha Walker, Senior Commercial Finance Manager

As a high performer within my team, I was recommended for the programme by my Finance Director.  She too is a woman in leadership and it was great to see her promoting talent within her team. Career progression and being able to lead others are my goals, so it was an easy ‘yes’ from me about taking part.

The programme teaches lots of transferable skills that I have been able to apply to my day-to-day activities, such as relationship building, time-management, problem-solving and many more. It is also helpful to have a cohort of like-minded women to discuss issues or concerns with. 

I have already seen tangible benefits, one of which is my promotion to a Senior Commercial Finance role within the first three months of the course.

Alex Ruddock-West, Senior PR Manager

My manager recommended this course to me and it’s been great. I've learnt a lot about the behaviours successful leaders demonstrate in the workplace.

The combination of group workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions has been very effective, as it's given me the opportunity to discuss how to put new skills into practice. I'm only a third of the way through the Operational Management Programme but it has already helped me to become a more confident and competent leader and manager. It has also been a fantastic way to meet other female leaders.

Lara Pugh, Project Manager

TalkTalk nominated me for this programme, which was a really lovely surprise. While it is quite a big commitment on top of my day job, I’m finding my confidence has really increased as a result of this course, and it’s worth it. 

As I expected, the ‘self awareness’ content has been the most interesting for me personally. It has really broadened my thinking around how I see myself and how others may see me. I’ve been able to reflect on my own performance and working style, and how these impact on others. The course has also covered imposter syndrome and tips on how to overcome it when it strikes!

I would highly recommend this programme. It gives you the opportunity to meet some fabulous women, as well as the chance to develop yourself further.

Vicki Jones, Programme Manager

I was promoted into People Leadership just as the Women in Leadership course started. I was nominated for it by a female leader in my department, which was such a huge honour, and I absolutely jumped at the chance to be involved. I’ve never looked back!

I’ve completed leadership courses before, but none have been as engaging and thought-provoking as this one. The content is built to not only cover topics that are essential to aspiring leaders, but to also deliver bespoke content to women that really speaks to them – topics covered include imposter syndrome, unconscious bias, maternity, menopause etc.

The other aspect that I believe to be invaluable is the group of women on the course with me – future senior leaders of TalkTalk who are always willing to share resources, advice and tips.

The importance of inclusivity and diversity is something we strongly believe in at TalkTalk Business, and this philosophy flows all the way through TalkTalk, which is why we’re so proud to be a part of vital programmes like Women in Leadership.

Find out more

If you’d like to learn more about the TalkTalk and Raise the Bar Women in Leadership apprenticeship programme, head here.

Interested in starting a career at TalkTalk Business? You can find our job vacancies here.