• October 9, 2023

    Meet Marlon & Jancy from Step UP 2023

    As part of Step Up, a free six-month program for female students in their penultimate year of university in the UK, Ghana, Germany, Singapore & India, we offer participants access to skills development training, career events and mentorship. Working with our sponsoring businesses, BT Group, Virgin Media O2 and Vodafone, we pair our students with mentors to work alongside them for the duration of the program.

    As our 2023 program has come to an end, we caught up with mentee Jancy Karunakaran and her mentor Marlon Wilson at BT to learn more about their experience which lead to Jancy landing a Graduate Data Engineer role at BT.

    Mentee: Jancy Karunakaran | Graduate Data Engineer at BT

    How would you summarise Step UP in three words?

    Enlightening, interactive, and supportive.

    How has the program contributed to your career progression?

    This program has been instrumental in guiding my career trajectory towards the tech industry. The masterclass and career day sessions provided invaluable insights into interview strategies and the recruitment process, steering me in the right direction. The discussions were enlightening, prompting me to assess and strengthen my self-assurance. The empowering conversations on women’s roles in the field and insights from recent graduates’ experiences enriched my perspective on entering the industry. By assimilating these learnings and incorporating my mentor’s guidance, I’ve effectively showcased my skills and projected my authentic personality, ultimately propelling my career forward.

    Can you share your most impactful learnings?

    The most impactful learnings have been the undeniable significance of networking in securing a position within a company. By fostering genuine connections and engaging with employers, I uncovered the company’s active participation in various women-supportive initiatives, highlighting their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Involving in these programs allowed me to refine my skills and deepened my understanding of the tech role landscape. The unwavering support from my mentor, Marlon Wilson, who consistently encouraged my active involvement and skill progression, emphasized the importance of dedication and trust in the process. I’ve come to appreciate the immense value of Step Up, which has provided an exceptional space for all mentees to cultivate meaningful connections and work towards their tech career goals. Additionally, I’ve learned that a strong online presence, particularly on platforms like LinkedIn, significantly enhances visibility and connection with potential employers, ultimately increasing the likelihood of being noticed and considered for opportunities.

    What’s next for you?

    Having secured a graduate data engineer position at BT, I intend to leverage the insights gained from Step Up during my interview preparation, utilizing its guidance on question formats. I’m committed to applying and honing the program’s critical skills within my role at BT. As I embark on my career journey, I’m enthusiastic about taking responsibility and looking for challenging tasks. I will also be committed to upskilling with continuous learning and improvements.

    Mentor: Marlon Wilson | Transformation, Change and Inclusive Manager & Chair of the BT Ethnic Diversity Network

    How would you summarise the program in three words?

    Empowering, inclusive and transformative.

    What skills did you gain or improve from being a mentor?

    The primary skills I improved are leadership and empathy to guide Jancy through her personal and professional development effectively.

    Which element of the Step UP program did you enjoy most?

    I most enjoyed the transformation process from Jancy’s hard work and dedication, from seeing her confidence grow to her delivering a fantastic final project presentation. The cherry on top was the excitement when Jancy contacted me to confirm she had secured a Data Engineer role at BT.

    Please share advice for our community interested in working at BT:

    Be confident in your abilities and believe in yourself. Don’t hesitate to communicate your goals and aspirations to your mentor assertively, ensuring you are pushing for desired outcomes.

    Persistence and resilience are essential. So, don’t be discouraged by initial challenges or setbacks; learn from them and continue to strive towards your objectives. #Step UP

    Interested in joining our 2024 Step UP program? Click here to apply!

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