Trudy Norris-Grey was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the University in recognition of her outstanding contribution to business.
“This University provided me with the key to a door into a world of opportunity and social mobility. A world unimaginable to me, a girl growing up in recession-hit South Wales, the seventh of eight children of a coal-man, a young woman lacking in belief and confidence. This University equipped me to access the technology industry – for which I will be forever grateful as it has provided me with a very rewarding career.
The technology industry, along with industries that are based or linked to science and engineering, are hugely important to the economy. They are essential for our future economic prosperity and are key enablers for our ongoing development and well-being. They are growing and exciting industries. It’s surprising, therefore, to know that these industries are constantly short of talent, with the biggest pool of untapped talent being women. Careers in science, engineering and technology are still chosen by far too few women in the UK, despite a growing desire from business and industry to engage the very capable girls and women who pass through our educational system. It's a loss for all concerned: the wider community, companies, countries and women themselves too.
I head an organisation called WISE (Women into Science, Engineering & Technology) which works to encourage and inspire women and girls to gain and deploy STEM skills as pathways to exciting and fulfilling careers, as the University did for me. We need to combat the notion that STEM skills are for boys or that women aren’t cut-out for the boardroom.
Educational establishments, industries and the government are all behind this movement: aiming to overcome any conscious or unconscious prejudice that stymies individual or collective capabilities. Let us all do what we can to break the vicious circle whereby the lack of female role models, from the classroom to the boardroom, sends a message to the next generation that these skills and industries are not for them.Many congratulations on the achievements that you celebrate today. I’ve no doubt that this University will have equipped you well for the opportunities that lie ahead of you. I wish you success – for yourself and all those with whom you will come into contact and collaborate – with the adapted words of Nelson Mandela: let your light shine forth and in so doing give others the permission to do the same. I trust that you will be positive role models and supporters for all around you.”