I’d been looking at the issue of the lack of women in IT for a couple of years and trying to see how we could make a real impact when back in September 2011 I heard of a pilot scheme run by a colleague in our professional services division that had taken on 6 recruits aged 17 – 22, with a split of 2 male and 4 female, into an IT Apprenticeship scheme. Interest piqued, I met with scheme manager and was hugely heartened to hear that he had not purposefully gone out to get female recruits, it just happened that they were the right candidates and had interviewed well. By contrast we get around 10% -- 20% female intake from our technical graduate program and this is most likely driven by more girls having already chosen a non-technical path through university. Bingo! I thought -- this program could bring in both younger talent, and female engineering talent into Cisco in one hit.