Here, in our series on the latest EW BrightSparks of 2022, we highlight Charlotte Fitzpatrick, a Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprentice at BT.
Charlotte has already made a significant and positive impact at her workplace in a number of ways.
She led, for example, on a Remote PC access project which enabled hundreds of employees to access their computers remotely after being forced to work from home due to Covid-19. She was responsible for installing and troubleshooting the new application used to remotely access physical PC’s in the office.
The new PC access system relieved the pressure on the company’s network by around 25%, which helped avoid significant performance issues and allowed key worker teams to continue working during the pandemic.
In terms of cost savings, an initiative by Charlotte significantly helped the business by collating data around the costs of the tools that were used, and also the support costs and the usage of each of the tools. After a reorganisation of the business, she has been helping the newly formed common services see where they can further save costs.
By analysing the usage of the different tools, Charlotte was also able to determine where the company can reduce the number of unused licences and minimise the amount of external support that is outsourced.
She also helped reduce her team’s work stack significantly by building a script that automatically closes Jira work tickets that have been left open inappropriately. Lead times for the support team have subsequently been reduced, we learned, leaving more time for the team to focus on development work.
Charlotte has also been involved in BT’s working towards the removal of Huawei equipment from the UK’s 5G Mobile network, which would affect the ways of working for hundreds of the company’s employees. She helped teams from across BT to design a unique project in Jira, building workflows in alignment with their specific new ways of working.
Finally, she has also built over 60 VDIs (virtual machines) to replace all the physical Windows 10 PCs used in the BT Tower. This also enabled the removal of any end-of-life Windows 7 PCs and helped make the network more secure. Assigning virtual PCs also meant that Charlotte reduced unnecessary licence costs that come with building new physical Windows 10 PCs.
Community / STEM
Furthermore, in terms of community or STEM initiatives, Charlotte’s impressive work ranges from speaking for National Apprenticeship Week 2022 and promoting the role of apprentice on Instagram to working with the STEM ambassador organisation and raising funds for charities, such as Breast Cancer Now and Save the Children.
For example, she has worked with the STEM ambassador organisation and came up with the idea of hosting a myth busting video to spread awareness of STEM apprenticeships and address some common stereotypes surrounding them. This session was pre-recorded by herself and three other apprentices and then hosted on their YouTube channel, which has over 8,000 subscribers. The video received great feedback.
Charlotte has also mentored over 30 students as part of the FastFutures and ELEVATE programmes, alongside mentoring her own class from St Columbus school on a weekly basis as part of an initiative run by ELEVATE.
For National Apprenticeship Week 2022, Charlotte was invited along with six other BT apprentices to visit Number 10 Downing Street to speak with the then Secretary of State for education Nadhim Zahawi, about apprenticeships and what they thought needed to be done to improve them. Charlotte used the opportunity to highlight the important role apprenticeships play in encouraging more people into STEM roles and how apprenticeships need to be utilised to encourage more women into the male dominated industries, such as technology. She shared her own story and explained that if it wasn’t for her apprenticeship, she would never have considered a role working in technology.
She has also started her own Instagram page (@apprentice.allies), which intends to remove the stigma around apprenticeships by providing exposure to the benefits they offer and documenting her experience as a woman working in technology. She also uses the account as a platform to educate people on the logistics of applying to an apprenticeship, the different schemes on offer, who they are suitable for, etc.
So far, it has have over 1.2K followers and has been a case study on UCAS’s Instagram page over national apprenticeship week to showcase a day in the life of a digital and technological solutions degree apprentice and act as a role model for women in STEM.
Charlotte has also put her efforts into helping raise funds for charities. For example, as part of a fundraising initiative for Breast Cancer Now, called Ride Now, she was responsible for organising and collectively raising just under £10,000 for the charity, for example.
She signed up as the volunteering representative for BT and was able to recruit 6 teams of 10 people from across the business. Each team had to fund raise and cycle as far as they could between Monday the 19th April to Sunday 25th April 2021. Collectively BT raised just short of £10K for the charity and Charlotte is extremely proud of her role in this achievement (she had only expected to get one team to sign up, but her campaigning efforts lead to getting 60 people to sign up to the challenge, including herself).
Furthermore, over the last Christmas period she ran a virtual Christmas jumper day over BT’s internal social media site for Save the Children. As everyone was working from home and spirits were down due to the ongoing stress of the pandemic, she told us, she wanted to improve morale whilst raising some money. She hosted a competition for pictures of Christmas jumpers and the one with the most likes won a voucher.
She is pictured above receiving her award from Isabella Mascarenhas (VP, Grass Roots & Shining Stars, RS Group), one of the EW BrightSparks judges, and Richard Watts (emap MD, publisher of Electronics Weekly). Congratulations to Charlotte!
BrightSparks 2022 overview
EW BrightSparks Supporters
We are very grateful to the companies and organisations that help support the EW BrightSparks programme, and make it possible. Special thanks to: TE Connectivity and the UK Electronics Skills Foundation.
TE Connectivity is a global industrial technology leader creating a safer, sustainable, productive, and connected future. Our broad range of connectivity and sensor solutions, proven in the harshest environments, enable advancements in transportation, industrial applications, medical technology, energy, data communications, and the home. With more than 85,000 employees, including over 8,000 engineers, working alongside customers in approximately 140 countries, TE ensures that EVERY CONNECTION COUNTS. We are delighted to be involved in the Bright Sparks initiative which allows TE Connectivity to learn from and inspire the next generation of engineers. Learn more at www.te.com and on LinkedIn, Facebook, WeChat and Twitter.
UK Electronics Skills Foundation
The UKESF’s mission is to encourage more young people to study Electronics and to pursue careers in the sector. In the UK, the Electronics sector is big, valuable and growing; however, the demand for capable, employable graduates is currently outstripping supply. We are an educational charity, launched in 2010, with both public and private seed-corn funding. We operate collaboratively with major companies, leading universities and other organisations to tackle the skills shortage in the Electronics sector.
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