We spoke to Umayr Tanveer to hear about his time at BT so far, including his part in the Muslim Network, and how he has recently worked around Ramadan.

What do you do at BT?

I joined BT on a 4-year long Digital & Technology solutions degree Apprenticeship back in September 2019. I’m currently working towards specialising in Software engineering and rotate teams every 9 months within  our IT department to gain experience across the software development lifecycle. So far, I have worked in IT Transformation, Application support and Quality Assurance & Test!

Why did you choose a career in Technology via an apprenticeship?

During my time in Sixth form, I soon began to realise that the benefits of doing an Apprenticeship in Technology far outweighed the benefits of going to University. The idea of working with the latest technologies whilst getting hands-on experience in the industry early on was something that appealed to me, alongside the lucrative salary and the absence of Uni debt!

My apprenticeship with BT has allowed me to develop my skills and experience well beyond the development I would have obtained by attending University. 

What has been your favourite project so far?

My favourite project so far has been automating a process for a customer database system that is used to find line faults for our broadband customers. I was tasked with programming an application that allowed for the system users to automate their password changes, which would save them a lot of time whilst increasing their productivity. This project was particularly enjoyable as it required a lot of problem solving and use of logic. It taught me a lot about how to approach coding and how to debug issues when the code goes wrong! 

You’re part of the Muslim Network at BT. What is it and what are some of its activities?

The Muslim Network is one of our people networks that aims to promote and encourage Diversity & Inclusion across BT. The goal of the Muslim Network is to provide a platform to harness the talent of Muslims and our members across BT, by connecting to our people, business and communities.

I have been fortunate enough to be given a senior role within the network and am also the Comms lead for the network!

We have organised many exciting and educational activities over the last year. During Islamophobia Awareness Month in  November 2020, we launched a BT-wide campaign to shed light on Islamophobia and invited all colleagues to a knowledge call on the topic. The campaign sparked some important conversations and gave colleagues a deeper insight into the struggles and Islamophobia Muslims face regularly.

We also organised the 'Apprenticeship Discovery Series', which was a three-part virtual event set out to promote and raise awareness of the apprenticeships that BT offers and also to guide the attendees in their applications.

Recently we ran a Ramadan campaign with the aim of educating fellow colleagues about what Ramadan is and what it means to Muslims. The campaign involved many activities like our Ramadan quiz and Ramadan knowledge call. The eagle-eyed in London may have also spotted a Ramadan greeting on the BT Tower info band on the first day of the holy month!

It’s now Ramadan and you’re observing a fast from sunrise to sunset. How is your manager, team and BT as a whole flexible regarding that?

BT has been very supportive of Muslim colleagues during Ramadan. Our HR teams have published guidance for all Line Managers and Colleagues on how best to support those observing fasting. Personally, my Manager has been very supportive through flexible working arrangements where I am able to start later and finish later during the day due to the change in my routine. I am also not expected to speak as much in meetings due to low energy levels which also helps aid my fasting. Overall, I feel I have been supported by BT during Ramadan and am very proud to work for BT!

How does BT give you the space and the flexibility to profess your faith?

I feel comfortable practicing my faith whilst working for BT as the company has a very proactive approach in supporting colleagues from all backgrounds and faiths. During my onboarding process when I joined BT, my Line Manager was very approachable and I was able to let him know of my requirements to offer prayer for 10 minutes during working hours. As a result of this conversation, my Manager made my wider team aware of these requirements and also directed  me to the location of the quiet room in our office where I could offer my prayers. This made my transition into the company very smooth and less daunting, especially as an Apprentice and am really thankful to my Line Manager Jim! 

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