Trainee who became IT boss calls for more women to follow in her footsteps

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 23 Feb 2018

A mum-of-three has called for more women to be employed in the information technology industry.

And Jo Dixon spoke from first-hand knowledge, for she heads up as a managing director the internet and specialist IT company HBP Systems, which has an annual turnover of £5 million and employs 80 people in Scunthorpe and Hull.

It has been a meteoric career rise for Jo, 42, who joined the company in 1992, a year after it was founded, as a trainee under the former Youth Training Scheme.

Urging other women to follow in her footsteps, she said: "The next big change the IT industry needs is to have more women working in it.

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"Not only are we working against a stereotype that the IT industry is geeky and full of nerds – which is down to the media’s perception of us – but schools don’t spend enough time teaching the subject.

"I have three children under 10 years and they spend less than an hour a week on computers.

"Considering how important IT is in every aspect of modern life, I believe that’s an imbalance that needs to be addressed.

"Modern IT is about thinking differently, about problem solving, and about using computers to make life easier and better for everyone. That’s the kind of thing which should appeal to girls and young women, and encourage them to consider a career in this industry.

"The media tends to portray the IT industry as geeky, and as a result that’s what the wider public believes too. But it’s not like that. It’s a cool industry. On a cool scale of one to 10 I’d rate myself at about 8.5 – though my kids might tell you otherwise, and I’m the MD of an IT company.

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"It’s been a decade of significant change; a decade in which we have transformed our business by transforming businesses for others, making ourselves the 'go-to' IT systems and software specialist in the region.

"We've all grown so used to a 'connected' world we can easily forget what it was like 10 years ago, never mind 25.

"When I joined the company, the internet had been publicly accessible for only a year, and Google didn’t exist, that didn’t come onto the scene for five more years.

"Since I've been MD we've seen the birth of the iPhone and the iPad, we’ve moved from Windows Vista to Windows 10 and we've proved our reputation for working to the highest standards by earning partner status from major software suppliers including Microsoft, Sage and Sophos."

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