Digital Skills leader scoops national Inclusive Leadership Award

An inspiring digital skills advocate, who helps thousands of college students into fantastic careers every year, has her inspirational work recognised with a prestigious ‘Ladies First’ award.

FE News article, 3rd July 2024

Founder of Digital Skills Consulting and Chair of The CyberHub Trust, Julia Von Klonowski, was presented with the Inclusive Leadership award at a sparkling ceremony earlier this month.

A photograph of Julia von klonowski with two stdudents alongside, at the award ceremony

The Ladies First Network is open to all women, offering regular business networking events and providing opportunities for members to share ideas and support one another. The annual Ladies First Awards celebrate the achievements of women from across many sectors, of all ages and from all backgrounds.

Julia was recognised for her tireless work nationally, supporting students in Further Education Colleges all over the UK to access exciting career experiences and opportunities within the digital skills sector.

Having spent over two decades working in the IT industry, including the role of Director of Education at Oracle, Julia set up her own digital consultancy (Digital Skills Consulting). She now works with young people between the ages of 16 and 19, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds and different cultures.

Julia works closely with Government departments, law enforcement agencies, business and charities to secure opportunities for the students. Inclusivity is baked-in to everything she does; her passion for helping young people into great jobs, coupled with her own expertise, has resulted in exceptional impact across the board.

Having been nominated by the team at Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet), Julia was a finalist in two categories: ‘Excellence in Technology & Innovation’ and ‘Inclusive Leadership’.

In addition, two BMet students were nominated for their achievements, Leah Atkins and Fatima Mohammed, who were nominated in the Rising Star and Future Leader categories.

Despite narrowly missing out, they were both presented with a new award, becoming Ambassadors for Ladies First.

Oliver Stokes, Director – Business, Creative, Digital & Law at Birmingham Metropolitan College put Julia, Leah and Fatmia forward for the awards. He said:

“I nominated Leah, Fatima, and Julia for their remarkable success and passion in the digital sector. Specifically, Julia who shares my enthusiasm for developing talent, making her recognition by Ladies First all the more meaningful. I am thrilled that Ladies First has acknowledged what I have long seen.

“Congratulations to them all. BMet is incredibly proud of their achievements and ongoing work to challenge the norms, nurture and grow talent by providing opportunities to all learners to aspire to destinations they never thought were possible.”

Speaking about her award, Julia added:

“I really did not expect this, there were so many amazing, talented, and inspiring women being celebrated by Ladies First. I felt honoured and privileged just to have been nominated, so winning the award was beyond my expectations.

“I am so inspired by our young students and so proud of them. They are the future and the reason I love what I do.

“I’m extremely grateful to the colleges and students I work with. They are all fantastic and without them I wouldn’t be here! There are so many career opportunities on offer across the digital sector; I am delighted to be supporting this.”