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Vivian's story


As soon as I joined Ada, they were already teaching us how to greet people.

Since leaving Ada, Vivian says that the supportive and nurturing environment of the college, from the teachers to fellow students, has given her the freedom to pursue a variety of career options. Most recently she took up a place on a Software Engineering apprenticeship at Vodafone. 

Vivian chose to study Computer Science because she is intrigued by the way the world will look in the future. Everything inspires her, from watching Doctor Who as a child, to playing online games, even as a young girl, she describes herself as being “digital.” 

While doing her work experience through an organisation called Next Head Girls, Vivian’s mentor took the time to help her work out what kind of future she wanted for herself. After assessing a variety of options, they worked out what it was that excited Vivian specifically. She saw ‘tech’ as her preferred pathway and there seemed to be no better option than to enrol at Ada. 

“As a specialist in tech and digital skills, it was new and small, meaning that it would be more focused on the students” 

Vivian says there were a variety of opportunities on offer at Ada that open doors for students in ways that other educational routes simply cannot offer. Throughout a student’s time at the college, there are a variety of industry events, placements and conferences to engage with. Vivian praises the ability of the college to provide as many opportunities to network with sponsors and industry partners as possible. 

“A lot of companies see potential in it [Ada] so they would mentor us, teach us and interact with us” 

Vivian commends Ada for offering a “practical” experience for young people that goes a long way to helping them become ready for any potential career path. Indeed, she also notes that “the type of teachers they hire are people who will understand the Ada values.” 

During one of the many industry-led ‘event weeks’, such as an event hosted by Bank of America, students engaged with real world material. The challenge that Vivian and her team ended up winning was an infographic challenge where students investigated data. Vivian’s team discovered a trend between GCSE results and unemployment rates in certain areas of the UK from the data. Her team won the challenge because they successfully conveyed this data into a clear and fun infographic. They were then asked to pitch the problem to the employers in a detailed way. Vivian credits Ada with encouraging this type of collaborative work and her team was praised by event organisers for their collective efforts.

Vivian expresses her gratitude to Ada for helping to develop lifelong connections she made while studying. She notes that in her experience, it is not common for young people to carry on relationships after school. Her advice to young people wanting to go down a similar route into a tech career is simple: 

“Explore. Computer science is such a broad theory subject, not just talking about software engineering, there’s cybersecurity, networking, game development, there are so many things to tech… I’m still exploring.” 

Vivian speaks passionately about how young people can get be inspired to take whatever interest they have in digital skills towards a potential profession later down the road. She would ask that anyone interested should start studying a STEM course or enrol in online digital schools that hone this interest, as Vivian says, “grab onto it!” Vivian explains that there is now a huge number of courses available to young people. She elaborates by saying how many wonderful connections young people can begin to make when they understand basic principles and concepts, “they just need to be curious and to just do something to show that.” 

Vivian conveys a sense of pride for Colleges like Ada, which give young people not just a formal education in a given subject, but a space to grow and develop at your own pace. One way that Ada can be beneficial to young people is by developing their interpersonal skills. “As soon as I joined Ada, they were already teaching us how to greet people.” Vivian explains that teachers were supportive, showing students how to engage with people from companies. 

“They’ve added great things like assessment centres that give you a view longer term to how to prepare for entering the world. You’re thinking about preparation. You’re thinking about how companies work, thinking about how to conduct yourself around people, how to network already.” Ada has given Vivian the foundation she has needed to break into the world of tech, it has given her time, opportunity and access. 

“I can’t say anything wrong about Ada, they teach the subjects so thoroughly.”