Thomas Scholey

When Thomas finished his sales graduate scheme, he was keen to pursue his passion for history whilst maintaining some form of work. After a conversation with his manager and HR, he was able to continue working with us as a Contract Professional whilst taking two Mondays off per month for university studies. Check out his full story below.

Can you walk us through your career journey at BT, from your time in the sales graduate scheme?

I started in BT back in September 2021 on the graduate program. BT has always been a company I was aware of and I’m very interested in the fast-paced nature of the technology industry. So, I was very happy to find the graduate program and be lucky enough to be accepted onto it.

I’ve completed three different rotations within the business. My first role was as a Desk Based Account Manager for CPS (our Corporate and Public Sector unit within BT Business)  in Bristol. Second, I worked as a Field account manager in the Mid-Market team. This role involved lots of travel (which I loved) and seeing customers challenges face to face. My final role was working directly for the director of Major Government in BT as a Business Manager. This was not a sales role, but rather a support role. I worked on several projects over this rotation and developed new skills.

You're now a contract professional. Can you tell us what you do day to day/in a typical week? And how that fits in the broader team you work in?

I am a Contract Manager in the CPS unit. I am responsible for two full contracts while also assisting a third. This role involves ensuring that both parties are always compliant with the terms of the contract, managing the P&L, implementing contract changes and many other responsibilities. What is great about this role is that I get to work with colleagues in many different areas of the business in order to deliver the best for our customers.

If I’m honest, no two days are similar so there is no ‘typical week’ as it all depends on what projects are on-going, has anything gone wrong etc. And this is what I love about the job. There are always new experiences and new things to learn. 

Can you tell us more about the learning and development opportunities you have both in your current role and more broadly at BT?

This role has allowed me to develop a number of skills. My primary responsibility is managing the P&L (Profit and Loss) of the contract and as such that has involved a lot of work on furcating and financial management. My team has been brilliant in assisting me in areas where my skills have lacked and there are plenty of opportunities for training. There are internationally recognised accreditations I can pursue as well as more general ‘career’ skills such as presenting and client management.  

You have a 9 day fortnight flexible working arrangement to pursue academic studies alongside your job. Can you tell us how that arrangement came about? And what support you got from your manager and the business?

The reason I wanted to work flexibly was because I wanted to progress my university education further. I finished my undergraduate degree in the summer of 2021, but always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to continue studying as I’m a massive history ‘nerd’. I’d really enjoyed my time on the BT grad scheme and wanted to further develop my career so thought long and hard about what I wanted. In the end I decided to pursue a flexible working arrangement that would allow me the best of both worlds.

In terms of the process of requesting formal flexible working arrangements, my manager was really supportive. When I first approached the issue in November, my manager hadn’t dealt with this sort of arrangement in BT before, so she said she needed to have a chat with her boss in HR. They were very supportive and said they want to support people to achieve their goals inside of work and outside of work. They had a few discussions but about a week later my manager let me know this was something they could do and asked me what it is I needed from the business. I knew from several colleagues in BT that there were a few options. The most common ones were either a work 4 days per week or work 9 days every fortnight.

After discussing with my partner the financial implications of working reduced hours, I weighed up the different options, and settled on the 9 day fortnight. I spoke to my manager about this and we agreed how it would work (every other Monday off) had HR implement it and the next month it was ready to go! The whole process was smooth, hassle free and very efficient. 

How did this new flexible work arrangement affect your work and customer commitments? What sort of strategies have you put in place to manage your studies and job?

My working pattern hasn’t really had an impact on my customer relationships or role so far. I’ve been doing it for a few months so it just requires me to be proactive in planning, making sure when deadlines need to be hit I plan my time accordingly.

When I need to speak to a customer I make sure meetings are scheduled in their calendars and mine, trying to avoid clashes. Only once have I had a clash to far, I had to take a call during a lesson but I was able to step out for 30 mins and catch up easily afterwards. So far I’ve met all obligations and deadlines both at work and University.

I make sure everything I do is planned out (I’m a big fan of ‘to do lists’), so when I’ve got lessons, I block it in my calendar so people can’t put meetings at that time. I do my best to re arrange my lesson or meeting itself when need be so we can always achieve what we want to achieve.

I have two Mondays off a month, and inside of that I have the ability to attend lessons during business hours, I just make sure those hours are made up and targets are still hit.  I’ve had very positive feedback from my manager and other colleagues in the business and am very happy with the current arrangement. 

More colleague stories