Supporting role: Marianne Whitfield and Fareeha Usman

March 5, 2020

Marianne Whitfield, director of development at MSP and TechUp Women mentor, has worked with Fareeha Usman, founder of the Being Woman charity, to develop digital skills and experience for the benefit of her clients

Marianne Whitfield

When I was approached about becoming involved with TechUp Women, I was only too pleased for both myself and MSP to give our support.

The first time I met Fareeha, I knew we were going to build a great relationship. We share a love of digital and tech and a desire to constantly push and develop ourselves and our businesses.

We also both have a strong commitment to championing Northumberland.

The work Fareeha was already doing with some of the most vulnerable women in Northumberland – including those who come here as refugees and are having to rebuild their lives from scratch – was fantastic, and I admired her dedication to wanting to help them upskill and increase their own prospects.

We worked closely during the TechUp Women programme, and Fareeha’s enthusiasm and desire to keep learning was something I loved.

We will continue to work together to promote our shared ambitions of championing Northumberland and the opportunities that exist within it.

From its base in Alnwick, MSP is pioneering the technology that is revolutionising the global manufacturing industry and we are working with some of the biggest names in the world, such as BAE Systems, Pratt and Whitney and leading Formula One teams.

Fareeha is similarly committed to promoting digital skills in Northumberland, often among women who have no previous knowledge or skills, and the progress she is making in equipping them with vital digital capability is fantastic.

People like Fareeha are the game-changers, the ones who bring about change, and I look forward to seeing how our relationship develops.

Fareeha Usman

I found out about TechUp Women quite late into the application process and actually applied on the closing date.

The fact it was a course where you weren’t forced to attend regular sessions was very appealing, and it was a great way to learn.

I was so pleased Marianne was my mentor. She is a strong woman, very knowledgeable and experienced, but also someone I enjoyed talking to and learning from. She was there whenever I needed anything.

TechUp Women has been so valuable. I’ve been able to apply the skills I have learnt, especially in building a user experience, to my funding applications. In six months, we have had three successful applications. This is amazing for Being Woman and the women and wider community who attend our programmes.

Our aim is to work with women from across the world from our base in Ashington, empowering them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to challenge prejudice and discrimination with a focus on digital skills that can open up a whole new world for them.

Marianne visits us regularly and I know she’s an inspiration to the women we work with. I’m very passionate about improving the prospects and ambitions of families across Northumberland and want to do so many things to change people’s outlook.

Through learning these new digital and tech skills, I want others to benefit too.

Marianne and I share this approach and want to promote a positive outlook and show people what they can achieve here.

We will certainly be working together to make this kind of change happen.


Being Woman