My first few months as a new starter at Ada…What a whirlwind!
By Nicola Iberi
After hearing about Ada, the National College for Digital Skills a little over a year ago, I was intrigued by what appeared to be an exciting movement.
I loved Ada’s vision of educating and empowering the next generation of digital talent, so when I saw the job advertisement for Head of Business Development, it seemed like a great opportunity to crossover from a commercial world that had left me feeling burnt out after so many years of being undervalued and a bit lost in terms of purpose. Although I’ve had some fabulous opportunities and gained some invaluable experience, I wanted more from a job than boosting shareholder profits.
From the day of my interview to being almost six months in, I’ve felt very welcome and have been surprised to see how genuinely warm and friendly everyone is. Furthermore, I get to work with colleagues from all different backgrounds and life experiences and the College is bound together by a central focus that everyone is incredibly passionate about. I love that everyone is open to sharing their back story and why Ada resonates with them. For me, growing up in a working-class family in the Midlands, being first in the family to go to University wasn’t easy. Not having any support with my education and career choices was hard and it wasn’t because my family didn’t care, but they just didn’t know how to help me. Career advice was almost non-existent, but like many, I found my way in life and things have worked out for me and I’m proud of my achievements.
Working at Ada makes me feel like I’m making a real difference to the next generation of people like me and for those that face much more adversity in their first steps into working life. Making access to opportunity fairer for everyone is so vitally important to ensuring we have a tech sector that is truly representative of society. Even if I play only a small part in improving the life chances for the young people we work with through the employer relationships I grow, it makes me feel incredibly motivated on a scale I’ve never felt previously. I’ve seen first hand just how life-changing higher-level tech apprenticeships can be and in a short amount of time I’ve become quite evangelical about Ada.
One of the most impactful things I’ve learnt so far at Ada is the importance of working authentically and staying true to yourself. I see this through the people I work with, the relationships they have with each other and the dedication to the vision. My experience is very wholesome and I love working with individuals who put their heart into everything they do, not just ticking boxes. Ada is on an exciting journey:we’ll be moving into new buildings in London and Manchester soon and developing new programmes to expand the opportunities for the young people we work with and increase our impact. It’s exciting and rewarding here and I just can’t wait to see how much more we can achieve.