My journey so far
Re-training for an exciting new career
To do this, I knew I needed to formalise my knowledge with some certifications, which would mean evening classes and study. And doing that while continuing my then current career would have been difficult – so I left my job, moved in back in with my mum (at 32!) and took a role with Lloyds Pharmacy while I studied in the evening. It was only meant to a short-term role while I got some certifications – but seven and a half years later, I’m still here!
My current role sees me leading three small teams (two on an interim basis) in the relatively newly formed SAP Centre of Excellence. On a daily basis, I help to prioritise my team’s activity, and make sure we’re responding to and resolving incidents with the right resources, in the right time. I frequently liaise with other work streams, NMD stakeholders and members of the project team to ensure that things run smoothly.
I’ve also been involved in various task forces and stabilisation teams, to dig down to the root causes of some of the larger challenges we face. This involves lots of cross stream collaboration, to enable us to solve the problems together.
My role has seen quite a lot of travelling to Norway during the Hypercare period, to ensure we have quick access to resources and users, which has been really valuable.
A varied journey
When I started in 2011, I was based in our satellite office in Gloucester, and was working as a Rota Co-ordinator. Although this wasn’t my end goal of working in IT, it was a fast paced and interesting role that utilised a lot of the skills I’d gained over my sales career.
Then I became a First Line Service Desk Analyst, an Application Maintenance Specialist and got promoted in 2015 to be an Application Maintenance Team Leader. Finally, in October 2016, the Global SAP Centre of Excellence was expanding, and I took on the role of Team Leader for the Retail work stream.
I’m pretty proud of the speed in which I’ve progressed to my current role from being a Service Desk Analyst. Being offered this role showed the amount of faith and trust the company has in my abilities, which feels really good.
Empowering support and mentoring
The business is very supportive, and is willing to offer opportunities to lots of new starters. I’ve always appreciated the great sense of trust they invested in me at such an early stage. Since then, I’ve always known when positions are available mainly through networking. But I’ve also always kept an eye on the internal job website to ensure I’m aware of all opportunities.
Given that my first IT role was within this business, I’ve had a lot of knowledge to gain both from a technical and functional point of view. I’ve had lots of support in this area from every Team Leader I’ve worked with; they’ve always been available to give career advice and guidance, but while also giving me the space to make decisions and come to conclusions myself. I’ve found this kind of loose mentoring to be very empowering; it’s really helped my confidence to grow.
Training courses and on-the-job learning
From a technical standpoint, I attended a number of training courses to acquire basic technical skills like Unix. By far the most valuable learning experience though, has been on-the-job and learning from experienced members of my various teams.
One thing that’s been really helpful has been working in an environment where I’ve been allowed the space to learn from my mistakes. Having the kind of leadership which understands that mistakes are just part of any journey to success has given me confidence in my abilities – and resulted in me being very knowledgeable in systems I never thought I’d be able to understand.
Moving into leadership
As my career progressed, I moved into more leadership roles. I was given space to evolve my skills and develop my own leadership style, but have always had the support and guidance of my manager.
In 2016 I was lucky enough to be part of the START Leadership training course, which provided me with lots of new skills and ideas to bring to my new leadership career. I also met colleagues from all over Europe, some of whom I’ve ended up working with after the course.
Watch this space…
There’s still lots I want to achieve – from developing my SAP knowledge and skills, through to moving further up the hierarchy and expanding my teams and ensuring we make a success of the SAP CoE.
It’s an exciting time; we’re all really looking forward to the UK project and the learning and development opportunities that will bring. In IT there have been lots of opportunities opening up as we undergo change, and this is only going to increase in the future. I’ve seen great deal of opportunities arise since I started here and I’ve found the Leadership team have always been happy to discuss them and encourage you to apply if they think it’s right. This is a mentality that I’ve most definitely picked up and will apply wherever I can moving forward.
It’s all about the right attitude
One thing I’ve always been told here is that if you have the right attitude and desire, then the technical aspect can always be taught. That has really resonated with me, as it was exactly the kind of opportunity that I needed when starting a new career.