Why the Slots Academy will encourage ambitious job candidates and lead to greater diversity

With the low stake gambling entertainment sector suffering from a under-representation of women at senior levels the situation at MERKUR UK’s Slots Academy Delta Leadership Program provides some evidence that the gender imbalance may be narrowing.

Of the first intake of 15 talented individuals identified as having the potential and aptitude to become the ‘business leaders of tomorrow’ five are female, a proportion which is significantly ahead of the industry norm.

To get a personal perspective on the Slots Academy and how it will impact recruitment merkurgroupuk.co.uk spoke with one of the 15, Paulina Heck, who joined Blueprint Operations following an extended  period working in the engineering sector.

Where did you work prior to MERKUR UK and in what capacity?

PH: I started in engineering building, testing and repairing gas and electric kitchen appliances and then onto Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems – otherwise known as HVACs.  I worked for a small company based in Lincoln where I was responsible for the design, development and production of systems for Land Rover and Freightliner. I then spent 12-months as a Field Service Engineer responsible for the testing, repair and installation of Beans to Cup and traditional coffee machines.

This is regarded as being a very male industry– so does it feel unusual for the Academy to be one third female and how important is it to be more representative?

PH: As you can see from my CV, I have always worked in male dominated environments. In each of my previous jobs I was the first female to be involved in what were regarded as being non-traditional female roles. I think it’s important that businesses encourage different perspectives, experiences and backgrounds to their teams which will ultimately benefit the organisation. Having four other women in the same intake is a sign that things are changing and that MERKUR UK is leading the way in the industry

It’s early days but how does it feel to be identified as a potential future business leader?

PH: Yes, it is early days and I know I’ve got a long way to go.  However, I feel really focussed and I have noticed that my mindset has changed. Previously, I was asking myself ‘Can I do it?’ now I know that ‘I can do it!’. Of course, I know it is not going to be easy or straightforward but I’m really motivated and determined.

Do you think that initiatives such as the Slots Academy will help to attract a broader cross-section of candidates wanting to pursue a career in the sector?

PH: People looking for a new role want one or all of the following: change, opportunity and the chance to progress. Joining Blueprint just over 12-months ago represented a huge change from what I was used to. The Slots Academy represents a great opportunity to develop new skills and meet new people. It is a next step forward, and it will hopefully lead to a progression – which ticks all three boxes! In my experience initiatives such as the Slots Academy will attract a broader cross-section of candidates who will be attracted to a career in the industry.