The Importance of Striving for Increased Female Representation in Digital

International Women’s Day, Friday 8th March, is an opportunity to celebrate women in digital professions.

A significant gender gap has persisted throughout the years at all levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world. Even though women have made tremendous progress towards increasing their participation in higher education, they are still under-represented in these fields.

DVLA are proud to strive for increased female representation in digital and recognise the importance of advocating for women’s equal access and participation in STEM careers.

As part of our commitment to being a Centre of Digital Excellence (CoDE), our approach to investing in skills and talent is a core part of achieving our strategic ambition.  Through strategic outreach and working with our partners, DVLA Digital is at the forefront of building a greater representative workforce which champions female recruitment, retention and development.

These initiatives reflect the holistic approach we are taking in developing a generational investment for now and the future. 

As part of our celebration, we’re showcasing Rachel Williams and her journey into DVLA Digital.

“The first thing that drew me to DVLA was the team environment, I met some wonderful people. I’ve always appreciated the number of opportunities that DVLA offers.”

Rachel Williams
Service Desk Manager

Where did you begin your career at DVLA?

I began my DVLA career as an Administrative Assistant (AA) in the Operations and Customer Service Directorate (OCSD). My first role was printing tax discs, which was something new and I quite enjoyed it. The first thing that drew me to DVLA was the team environment, I met some wonderful people. I’ve always appreciated the number of opportunities that DVLA offers. Bustling with enthusiasm, I ventured my way through some of these opportunities. I worked as part of the sensitive casework team, then I was a manager in the First Registration Business Support team before I was promoted to Higher Executive Officer (HEO) grade while managing the messengers and scanning areas. All these roles held differing responsibilities and I gained many transferable skills from them.

During the pandemic, I was hit with my biggest DVLA challenge to date when I was temporarily promoted to Senior Executive Officer (SEO) grade. In this role, I oversaw mail opening, franking, transport, and the messengers. This role came with a generous amount of accountability and stretched my abilities. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity as I gained so much resilience and improved my leadership skills.

What role kickstarted your career in DVLA Digital?

I was actively looking for a new role to develop myself, as the role I was covering was only temporary. I felt that I had gained most of the skills that operations had to teach me and I needed to explore other departments to widen my skillset.

That is when I came across an external Service Desk role. I felt like DVLA Digital required, let’s say, a “techier” type of skillset, and I disregarded a lot of similar opportunities that came out previously because I thought I needed an IT-focused skillset.

However, this time, I felt I had the essential criteria and experience from my contract experience as well as dealing with stakeholders. Once it sank in that I ticked the boxes for the role, I applied and thankfully, I was successful!

The interview and application processes were similar to Operations. However, I felt that the approach was more relaxed, and I truly believed the interview panel were trying to get the best out of me. This is something that I admire about DVLA Digital, the culture is so supportive. Additionally, the breadth of opportunities available at your fingertips is immense! My external Service Desk role was very varied, no 2 days were the same, very much like my role in Operations. I also enjoyed liaising with staff across the directorate. Overall, I truly believe changing careers was the best decision I ever made, and it positively impacted all areas of my life.

What is your current role in DVLA Digital? 

Currently, I work as the ITS internal Service Desk Manager. My role bears similarity to my previous role in operations, but in the world of DVLA Digital. My team is responsible for looking after every DVLA user. If staff have an IT-related issue, they contact us for a first-line fix. I absolutely love my team and the role!

What advice do you have for those seeking a career in DVLA Digital?

Don’t be put off by the language used in role profiles or job adverts. Seek out roles where you feel as though you hit the criteria or have the experience. Also, attend familiarisation sessions – they’re great ways to gain insight into the role and the team.

To get a good head start on a career path within DVLA Digital, you can follow DVLA Careers on social media. You will find tailored content whenever a role goes live on Civil Service Jobs with useful links to the advert, application tips and familiarisation sessions. If you’re not sure which role would suit you, you can explore digital careers on the DVLA Digital Profession career site.