Careers

Unleash the talent of Women in Business
Unleash the talent of Women in Business

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B2B

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blogs

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3/27/2019

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Meet Kirste Johnston a Sales Sector Head within Regional Business Scotland & NI and hear her story and overview on how Vodafone unleash and unlock the talent of Women. I grew up in a single parent family in a council estate, in the small seaside town of Prestwick, on the west coast of Scotland. I was blessed to be brought up in a family full of strong and independent woman as role models. I am pleased to say the world we woman work in now, is a very different place to when my mother had to work and bring up a family. Time has moved on significantly from the male and female inequalities of the seventies. There are many more opportunities for Woman in the workplace to soar, particularly within Vodafone.There is of course still work to do to ensure parity of senior level roles and director boards within organisations across our industry  and that they reflect the diversity of society; be it gender, ethnic background or whichever box society places you in. I am proud to say that at Vodafone we have a strong focus on ensuring our business genuinely do reflect the diversity of our society, and that there is a strong active support network to achieve this idle.On leaving school at 17, I applied for College to study Art & Design, with a passion for anything creative. I left home around the same time, and the harsh reality of low income and bills to pay quickly drew in. I decided I wanted to maximise my earning potential and took on two jobs; one was waitressing, the other self-employed selling advertising space for a media company. I quickly recognised I really enjoyed the world of sales, the buzz of landing that deal, and the reward of a commission payment hitting the bank account. Vodafone support developing our young workforce, and believe there is no wrong path to career success.This led me to the communications industry fairly quickly. It wasn’t hard to figure out the world was on the brink of a technological revolution, this excited me and I wanted to be part of that. I started out my communications career at the age of 19, taking a job in a mobile communications shop, owned by a small local reseller. The world of communications was very much male dominated at that time. My career progressed quickly as I thrived in a sales environment, leading me to managing my own store, and then managing a team of business to business field sales.Pre Vodafone I worked for a major competitor and each time I had a child my career took a back seat, and the age old battle of being a domestic goddess mum versus career woman loomed. I knew I was in the wrong organisation, there was not a lot of support and I wanted to work with more like minded, and forward thinking people, such as Vodafone. Vodafone have a support network that we call ‘Re-Connecting’. It’s all about re connecting woman with our business, and ensuring the support network is in place for woman to thrive.I am now 25 years down the line in my career in the technology and communications Industry, having been with Vodafone for the last 4 years. Wow, what a breath of fresh air it was joining a truly innovative company with a genuine appetite for supporting woman in business. In every role in every other technology business for which I was employed prior, I was the only female in my team doing senior sales, strategy or a sales management role in Scotland.At Vodafone I now work in an environment where the balance is far better; where men and woman collaborate and bring their varied skills together to ensure excellence and success not only for our business but for the individuals. An example of this is our ‘He for She’ Campaign, for which there can be miss-perceptions. Be clear this is not about promoting woman in business purely for being a woman and balancing the numbers. This is about having the support of our male colleagues and promoting positive opportunity and thinking about woman, unlocking their talent and understanding the different challenges they face to men. The men in our business want their sisters, mothers, daughters, colleagues to have the same opportunities and earning potential as they do. This is what He for She is about. Ensuring the men and women in our business work together providing fairness of opportunity and earning potential.Every day within Vodafone I am in awe of the amazing woman leaders we have. They inspire and support me to be the best and can be, as do our male counterparts. It’s very refreshing culturally. We also have a number of Woman’s Groups within Vodafone. I pioneered Vodafone Scotland & NI’s ‘Lean In’ Group for woman. A network who offer advice and support to woman in our business across a raft of topics; be it woman’s health & fitness, learning & developing your career, our Mentor Programme or Re Connecting, we have support across the organisation at hand to help woman recognise their potential. In my previous Vodafone role I Sector Headed the Mid Market Sales Team. I am delighted to say, my team were 1:1 male to female ratio. My top performer was coincidently a woman. She won sales person of the year 16/17 for the whole of our region. I had spent a year helping her recognised her true potential through performance coaching and a supportive approach. The talented woman in our business bring a positive dynamic to what we do, as do the talented men. There is a genuine mutual respect within the men and women in our business. It’s not about our gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic background, it’s about the work ethic, skills and talent of each individual. I have been inspired by our business to help support and promote woman in our workplace.I nominated one of my team, my top performer, for the Woman in Sales Awards Europe17/18. This was a fantastic opportunity to raise her profile not only within Vodafone yet across our Industry Europe wide, and I was delighted she was rewarded as a finalist.  The ethical values of our organisation were another big attraction to me as a woman, in joining Vodafone. I find this is a common attraction to many woman and men in our business. An example of this is that our people can volunteer 3 working days a year with a charity of their choice. I volunteer with a wide range of charities, and also sit of the Committee of Ayrshire Business Women. It’s so rewarding being able to genuinely do so good in society and having the support of your employer to do so. As a woman, it’s also important to me personally that Vodafone care as a corporate organisation and contribute back into society.Whilst being with Vodafone I have benefited from widening my professional network, and sharing best practice, engaging with some empowering woman both internally and externally. As a member of the Scottish Business Woman’s Association and also Ayrshire Business Woman Network, it’s fantastic watching so many women evolve and succeed in business. I have worked my way up into the regional senior leadership within Scotland and Northern Ireland, and sit on the local Regional Board for Vodafone, and I love that Vodafone actively support woman; recognising that in as much as we are different to men, we have so much value to bring to business. I can’t profess enough that Vodafone ultimately unlock and unleash the talent of women. I encourage more woman to grasp the opportunity to work in such a fantastic organisation and join the Vodafone team!

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Meet Kirste Johnston a Sales Sector Head within Regional Business Scotland & NI and hear her story and overview on how Vodafone unleash and unlock the talent of Women.

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Meet Chloe - A Data Analyst Apprentice here at Vodafone

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Graduates & Students

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blogs

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2/19/2019

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The level of exposure to projects and opportunities that I have experienced in my first year at Vodafone I believe is not something you would find anywhere else.  by Chloe Bruce  Hi I’m Chloe and I am a Data Analyst Apprentice working in the BI and Data Visualization team in Group Technology. Having received offers to study Business Accounting at university following the completion of my A-Levels, I decided an apprenticeship was a more suitable route for me. The opportunity for career progression whilst studying at the same time is what drove my decision. Before joining Vodafone, I was accepted onto a school leaver programme working in an audit role for a year and a half, at which point I decided it was not for me. Living locally to the Newbury HQ, I always had the desire to work for Vodafone given their reputation as a large corporate company. More specifically I have always wanted to work in the technology space due to its dynamic and innovative environment. When the opportunity came up to join the Data Analyst Apprenticeship programme here at Vodafone I thought it was one I couldn’t pass up.Compared to my previous experiences the culture and work life balance at Vodafone is unparalleled. Having to balance studying towards a Digital and Technology Solutions degree and my everyday role within my team at Vodafone, something quite daunting, has been made easy for me. My team have been very supportive and proactive in helping me to be successful on this apprenticeship programme. I used to play woman’s football at a semi-professional level something that I gave up due to previous work commitments, however since joining Vodafone this is something I have considered getting back into, as the work life balance here would allow me to commit to both. So far I am most proud of my work and contribution to the Data Quality Project. It has given me the opportunity to understand the benefits and business requirements of the project, right through to the implementation of the solution to our local markets. The level of exposure to projects and opportunities that I have experienced in my first year at Vodafone I believe is not something you would find anywhere else. 

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Rebecca James

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Rebecca James

Meet Amy, an Industrial Placement Student here at Vodafone
Meet Amy, an Industrial Placement Student here at Vodafone

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Graduates & Students

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blogs

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1/29/2019

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Never be afraid to ask questions. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Communication is key. Always look to the future. by Amy Ross Hello, my name is Amy and I’m currently an Industrial Placement Student working within Group Resourcing. Background – After finishing my A levels, I was very unsure of what I wanted to do, let alone what career path I wanted to take. I decided to go to university and study Sociology, as this was my favourite subject and it covers so many topics. Midway through my 2nd year, discussions arose regarding the opportunity to do an industrial placement year – something I had never considered before. However, after talking with people that had taken part in a placement year, I realised that it was a great opportunity to experience the working world and get an idea of what I would want to do after university. I started looking, came across Vodafone’s Industrial Placement programme and after researching Vodafone as a company I decided it was the best for me. My job at Vodafone – The Group Resourcing team has many different sections that it focuses on, and I work within the Youth Programmes team. Our team is in charge of the planning and strategy behind Vodafone’s Global Youth Programmes, which I love as I get the opportunity to change and shape how young people can be involved within the company. As well as youth related tasks, I also get the opportunity to work with wider members of the Organisation, People and Development team. What I love the most is every day is different. My life at Vodafone - I am now half way through my placement year, and what an amazing 6 months it has been so far! I have been given the opportunity to learn, develop and grow in all areas, both personally and professionally. When I go back to university I am very confident that I will be able to transfer both my hard and soft skills learnt in my year at Vodafone, to excel in my studies. Working at Vodafone has opened my eyes to so many possibilities and the realisation of how collaboration is key. On a day to day basis, I talk to people all over the world, and although Vodafone may have many different markets – I have realised that Vodafone is one family. There is such an inclusive nature in the company that I can always be myself and know that my thoughts will always be heard. Top tips – Never be afraid to ask questions. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Communication is key. Always look to the future.

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Rebecca James

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Rebecca James

Hear from Chloe who took part in the Ignite Work Experience Week

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Graduates & Students

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blogs

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12/19/2018

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This experience has taught me so many valuable skills both socially and professionally which I could never have gained elsewhere, so even though it may be daunting at first I would recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity. by Chloe Bailey When the opportunity to apply for Vodafone's Ignite work experience week became available, I considered every possible excuse to refuse due to the fear of being 170 miles from home without my Mum or Dad. However, after realising the benefits I could gain from the experience I finally sent off my application and was luckily accepted.On the first day, I was met with just over 20 other young people who were all just as apprehensive as me. We spent most of the morning getting a little more comfortable around each other and we soon realised how much we all had in common. After a number of team building exercises, the day started to feel a little tedious. Little did I know, these activities would give me the confidence I needed for the coming days.For the following three days at Vodafone, each student was assigned a 'host.' Although three days isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things, it can seem like forever when you're going to be at a stranger's side. I was fortunate enough to be placed in the Learning & Development team with an utterly inspiring couple of women from completely different backgrounds. They ensured I was happy and comfortable at all times and truly cared about my opinions and preferences in order to tailor my work experience to me, making sure I got everything I wanted out of my time at Vodafone. The meetings they organised for us gave me a real insight into the company - not only into the multitude of job roles available, but also the endless possibilities of steps you can take to reach your ultimate career aspirations. We spoke to a versatile range of employees, most of whom were accepted onto one of Vodafone's internships. Following these chats, we realised that the focus of a degree does not determine the job you'll end up in, and it definitely doesn't mean your options are narrowed down. For example, one employee who studied criminology at university now works in marketing. Each of the workers we were lucky enough to speak to all had different journeys and experiences, and proved to us that you don't need to have a structured life plan in order to end up where you want to be.On the final day, we spent time talking in a small group to focus on our 'personal brand,' which was something I'd never even considered before. This showed me how valuable your first impression is when meeting new people, and how this could potentially be the difference between getting a job and missing out. This exercise enabled us to discuss our values and morals, and showed how similar we all were despite our different cultural upbringings. Without this work experience, I would never have been told what a 'personal brand' is, let alone consider how I could improve it.Reflecting on my week at Vodafone, I would strongly urge all young people to apply for any work experience offered by this company. The offices are relaxed yet professional, and all of the employees I've met are so friendly and welcoming; they really make you feel like part of the team and ensure you get everything you want out of the experience. One particularly useful task I was set was to create a CV. Though it seems a simple task, it is something I'd never previously received enough help or guidance for, and I can now say I have a CV I'm proud of. This experience has taught me so many valuable skills both socially and professionally which I could never have gained elsewhere, so even though it may be daunting at first I would recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity.

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Rebecca James

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Rebecca James

Meet Dessi, A Technical Sales Apprentice here at Vodafone

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Graduates & Students

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blogs

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11/14/2018

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Vodafone is much more than a telecommunications company, it’s a family that provides services worldwide across 172 countries.  by Dessislava Bratinova Hello, my name is Dessi and I’m a Technical Sales Apprentice. Background- After finishing A levels, I was unsure of whether to pursue a degree by taking out a loan and study or do an apprenticeship where I can earn while I learn. Vodafone offers extensive apprenticeship opportunities and sales seemed the best fit for me. The entry process consisted of an online interview and an assessment center in Vodafone HQ, with a team activity and individual presentation. From day one everyone was really helpful and encouraging. My time at Vodafone- During my three months so far at Vodafone I have seen how people can be collaborative and supportive in such a large company. I have also learned how to be independent and get used to the corporate workplace, how to build up soft skills and networking. Best of all I have learned to be adaptive and flexible. Alongside the Vodafone sales teams, as part of the YFYA (Your Future, Your Ambition) event in October I was given the opportunity to help inspire young individuals on future jobs and careers they want to pursue. Culture of Vodafone- Vodafone is a company that treats all its employees equally. There is an active LGBT + friend’s community in our online platforms. Additionally, there are educational programs that take place regularly. Vodafone workplace is flexible and people can work anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. For the sales teams this is very important as we can travel to the customers and be more flexible with our working. Exciting projects I’ve been involved with- I was given the opportunity to attended the press release event for IoT (Internet of Things) and it was astounding. The UK’s first 5G holographic call was held there. Alongside was a showcase of new technologies, such as smart home, smart mirrors and other SIM connected solutions.I was invited to work alongside the Marsh &McLennan (MMC) team. It has been exciting since MMC is one of the world’s biggest brokers for insurance companies. I also visited their site opposite the Tower of London where we had the opportunity to discuss current services and present new opportunities like IoT. Outside the job role- Outside of work I continue to play tennis and work towards my CCNA accreditation. I also have a massive passion towards traveling and love to incorporate volunteering alongside. Vodafone is much more than a telecommunications company, it’s a family that provides services worldwide across 172 countries. As well as mobile solutions Vodafone offers network designs and IT infrastructure support, maintenance and development. 

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Rebecca James

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Rebecca James