Jade Smith

We sat down with Jade to uncover all the opportunities she’s been exposed to. From meeting Rio Ferdinand to travelling to Bangalore. She’s had quite the journey.  

You joined BT Group in 2013 as an apprentice can you tell us about that journey?

My apprenticeship within BT Group was extremely varied. As well as doing an NVQ, I supported numerous technical roles during my three-year apprenticeship. I had plenty of different opportunities during this time, such as being seconded to BT Traineeships to support with the Work Ready Programme (getting young adults into employment by providing them with the necessary skills and experience to succeed). 

I have also visited some of BT Group’s landmarks such as BT Sport, BT Tower and the Archives. This helped me expand my knowledge of the different areas within the business and how they all fit together. As well as visits helping to promote my knowledge. It also gave me the opportunity to build up my network of contacts, many of which I still speak to today.   

What are your key responsibilities as a Converged Core Network Integration Professional?

I lead an Integration team of fifteen people who help build the biggest and fastest broadband network within Converged Core and Edge for BT Group. It is important for me to establish and keep good relationships with a variety of people such as field engineers, stakeholders and automation leads. Doing so allows me to support my team and ensure we meet the unit and organisational goals.  

You’re involved in the launch for 5G. How important was that for you and what does the future hold?

EE, as part of the BT Group, made history when they become the first company to launch 5G in the UK and to be a part of that journey is one of my proudest achievements. Whilst working in Network Services I continue to be involved with BT Group’s new ventures and I am extremely excited to see what is next - who knows, maybe we will be the first to offer 6G in the UK. 

You’ve worked for the business for nine years, what has made you stay?

Security and growth. BT has always been known as somewhere you can make a career for life, and I work amongst people that have been working here for over thirty-five years, which is something that I aspire to do. You are also offered so many different opportunities whether that is secondments to different teams, external training or different job opportunities in a variety of teams and locations. 

You’re based in our new office, Three Snowhill in Birmingham. Did that have an impact on how you work or collaborate with your team? 

Three Snowhill is an incredible building with so many different areas that allow me to work more efficiently with my team. We make use of the large meeting rooms with up-to-date technology that allows us to connect with others in the business easily. No matter where they are. Being in the heart of the city also creates a nice atmosphere, especially during festive periods. 

Technology is male-dominated environment. What made you choose this path?

Technology has always fascinated me and because of this it didn’t occur to me that I would be entering into a male-dominated environment. However, since starting I have been lucky enough to help promote women into applying for our technology or engineering roles. It’s important to show women that even though this field is male-dominated our voice is still important and our opinions count.  

Why is it important to have more women in tech?

Having diversity within the workplace is key because it encourages and creates space for diverse thinking - it means everyone can bring to the table their own different opinions and ideas which can help promote innovation. Having more women in different roles in tech will show other women that this is achievable. 

What opportunities have you had since working for BT Group?

During my nine years I have had a few opportunities. One that particularly stands out for me was doing a secondment for the Work Ready Programme where I met Rio Ferdinand who was presenting my students with their completion certificates. After finishing my apprenticeship, I become a mentor to help support any new apprentices within the company and this also involved me becoming a qualified NVQ assessor which I did alongside my technical role.

Another great opportunity was getting to travel to Bangalore, India to train offshore employees in Network Planning and this required myself and a few others to create the whole training plan from start to finish. I’ve also been able to complete a few external qualifications such as NVQ assessor, Future Leaders, and I’m currently studying towards Nokia NRS1 exam. 

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