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Firebrand Training’s 2021 Tech Pro Role Models: The Advocate

Continuing our Tech Pro Role Models campaign with Amy Groves, Network Engineer at Lloyds Bank. Check out the following to hear her story!

Never in her wildest dreams did Amy believe that she was destined to work in tech, until by chance she spotted an advert for an apprenticeship within the Network department of Lloyds Banking Group which sparked her imagination. 
From that fateful day, she’s never looked back. 
Now a passionate advocate for supporting other women in tech, Amy credits Firebrand Training for helping her to advance her knowledge and supercharge her career progression.
We spoke with her to find out more...

So Amy, tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in a small village in West Yorkshire, in the heart of the Pennines. I’m very family-focused - everything I do in life is to make my family proud. 
I love hiking across the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, discovering new routes and views. 
During lockdown, I’ve also enjoyed sampling the latest flavour sensations from the great local breweries. As well as a newfound love of supporting local businesses, lockdown also brought me a four-legged furry friend. 
Post-lockdown, I’m really looking forward to meeting up with friends and family down the local pub for a game of pool or cards.

How did you get into tech?

Never in my wildest dreams would I have believed you if you’d have told me that my career would be in tech! I’ve only ever been exposed to stereotypical jobs. 
The men in my family have either been in tech or the building industry and the women in my life have gone down the paths of hairdressers, office workers and shop assistants – all doing it very successfully I might add! I’ve never been shown the opportunities that a tech career has to offer. 
Subconsciously, I never saw it as a path for women.

It wasn’t until I joined Lloyds Banking Group that they opened my eyes to the vast array of career opportunities on offer, and a career in tech really caught my eye. 
Call it luck or fate, I’m just so pleased that I found it! 
I saw the apprenticeship vacancies advertised to join the Network department and while there was some ‘techy’ jargon, I realised that the skills they were looking for were something that I was able to offer.

What do you do in your current role?

I work as a Networks Engineer which sees me look after the technology infrastructure that underpins the bank. Specifically, my team oversees the traffic load balancing for the network to ensure that our customers can access our online services smoothly and securely. 
I was nervous about joining the team as I was worried that my male colleagues would roll their eyes at a girl joining. But I needn’t have worried - I have the best colleagues and leadership around me! 
My manager is particularly keen on promoting diversity in our area and encouraging more women to get involved.

Since joining, I’ve been able to network with other female tech engineers and realised that I have a growing passion to use my learnings and experience to help others choose technology as a career. 
As our own communities become more diverse, it’s important that our workplace reflects this so that we can build a successful business.

Being a computer networks engineer doesn’t mean that it’s all ones and zeros - we’re not robots.
Behind every computer is a level of human interaction, so this means that people skills are just as valuable as technical skills. By being able to confidently communicate with my colleagues and put the customer first, we can ensure the safe delivery and successful product release for the organisation.

How has a Firebrand Training certification helped you in your career progression?

I wouldn’t have got to where I am now without this apprenticeship. 
Moving from a heavily focused customer service background into a tech career has been a very steep learning curve. 
Firebrand Training has pushed me to grow and adapt in ways that I never thought possible. My Firebrand mentor was instrumental in keeping me on track with deadlines and pushing me to advance my knowledge. 
My mentor constantly recognised my progression, and I always left our chats feeling more confident and driven. Having felt this impact firsthand, I want to pass this onto future apprentices and colleagues around me.

What advice would you give to your younger self when you were starting out in tech?

Believe in yourself! Forget about the jargon and don’t panic that you have to learn everything at once. I would be honest with myself and say, yes… you are going to have days of doubt, of insecurities when you’re running low on motivation and worried that you’ve bitten off more than you could chew! 
Keep moving forward and push yourself day by day. Only when we go out of our comfort zones do we truly progress as people.
Say yes to opportunities and ask your peers about things you don’t understand. Keep notes - listen to conversations and write down any acronyms. Over time they’ll stick, and before you know it, you’re speaking that new language too. 
Tech careers are inclusive and are for everyone, it’s up to you to take that step.

Firebrand and Networking Apprenticeships

The UK Government has recently released (technically still in the process of releasing) updates to Networking Apprenticeships.
Ensure your team is up to speed on the latest digital and IT developments with our Networking Apprenticeships, and find out how our experts and mentors can support your business goals.