Winning category:

STEM Woman of the Year

Brief description of business:

Michelle Slee is an Agile Delivery Manager, with the Information Technology services department at the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), hold more than 50 million driver records and more than 40 million vehicle records. The DVLA is an an executive agency of the Department for Transport (DfT) with sites in Swansea and Birmingham, employing more than 6,000 people. It is a digital-first organisation with the vast majority of its services being made available online so customers can choose how, when and where they access services.

As a company its strategic priorities include being customer-centric, a dynamic, digital organisation – accelerating the redesign and re-platforming of services, data driven – protecting the data it owns and a great place to work – making the company an inclusive community.

Why they deserved to win their category:

Michelle has been recognised within this award for her passion in helping her colleagues learn computer coding to fix business and system issues. Michelle Slee’s career trajectory and advocacy work has challenged stereotypes, inspiring DVLA employees and the wider community to take up a career in STEM. 

She is a self-taught programmer, and her personal journey is a powerful example of how women can succeed in tech. She made the transition to tech from a fraud and policy background and developed her coding skills as a hobby before joining DVLA’s technical community in 2017.

Now working as an Agile Delivery Manager, Michelle leads delivery and change in DVLA’s driver services. She manages 2 squads, or teams, of software engineers and testers. Critically, Michelle had used her personal experience to help others, especially women, follow in her path.

How does the individual, business or organisation further the STEM sector in Wales?

Michelle is supporting the DVLA in leading the way in offering and progressing digital and technology careers. During her career, she voluntarily developed a Code Learning Community to develop skill sets in computer science and has an active digital voice in the company to expand and promote the DVLA tech career paths.

The DVLA promotes its digital careers through its Digital Voices advocacy group to build skills and confidence in those looking to change their career and its Stem Ambassador volunteer programme is thriving. Ambassadors continue to engage children in the local community through Code Clubs, school days, external events and an annual DVLA Code Challenge competition. They also recycle laptops working local authorities and Race Council Cymru to distribute these into the community helping to tackle digital exclusion. Combined, these initiatives reflect the holistic approach the DVLA are taking to championing interest in STEM subjects and careers in STEM in Wales.