#IWD2021 – My journey on the Virgin Media Business Graduate Scheme

Raffy Gordon-Saker

Business Graduate

March 5, 2021

Studying History of Art at university, entering the telecoms industry wouldn’t have been my answer if you had asked me what I was going to do after university. “Something creative” was what I always said, but truth be told, I didn’t really know (and still don’t).

Recently I’ve been wondering why I didn’t consider certain areas as a potential career path previously and limited my options to the things right in front of me. Having used a feminist lens throughout my degree to consider the implications or impact of artworks on gender and society, I often find myself applying a similar lens day-to-day. Going to an all-girls secondary school where girls excelled in STEM subjects, there still seemed to be a lack of education surrounding career paths in these areas, that to my teenage self seemed to be branded as less exciting than others, and certainly not a route for someone like me who was pretty average in comparison to those around me academically, but always found myself having burning questions surrounding why things were the way they were and what a different world might look like. A bit of a daydreamer, I always brushed this kind of thinking off as having an overactive imagination, but recently have come to realise that it’s this kind of thinking that is key to creating a better future for us all.

The rise in awareness and action to promote STEM to girls seems to have come leaps and bounds since my school-days, which is an exciting prospect as I’m sure a new generation of female scientists, technology professionals, engineers and mathematicians will soon enter the world of work, and I can’t wait to see the results. I feel proud to have challenged my own assumptions surrounding my ability, what I am capable of, and the career paths available to me by applying for the VMB graduate scheme in an industry which was so unknown to me before, and am grateful to the Liberty Global family for not dismissing my arts degree like so many others (we’ve all heard the jokes about History of Art students!)

I’ve always been motivated by people-focused outcomes but didn’t consider how intrinsically this was linked to areas like connectivity, telecoms or technology, which inherently improve the lives of people around the world; helping them build connections that really matter, expand their businesses through digital transformation, and open up a digital world full of knowledge to the masses.

At 23 it is easy to feel like you need to have it all planned as you venture into the real world, and a bit strange reflecting on your time at school and university – which already feels a lifetime ago. I feel grateful to have the unique opportunity through the VMB scheme’s rotational aspect to dip my toes into several areas, test the waters, and see what really lights me up, alongside the opportunities for development which have helped me consider strengths I didn’t know I had, and career routes I didn’t even know existed before.

Even though I have only spent six months at VMB so far, my assumptions and ideas surrounding creativity, business and the telecoms industry have turned on their head, giving me a wave of enthusiasm for the part I can play. Day by day, I come to realise that creativity isn’t limited to certain industries or sectors, and if any organisation is to keep up with trends & our ever-changing planet, it simply has to be creative across the board; from its products and services, to its brand, company culture and people strategy. The fast-paced evolving nature of connectivity requires a level of creativity in itself, to ensure innovation is constantly taking place.

So, when people ask me about my plans for the future and long-term goals, my answer is the same as it was a few years ago: “something creative”. However now, I feel equipped with an ever-expanding understanding of myself, what motivates me, and feel an internal sigh of relief because I know that roles that hold space for creativity aren’t actually limited at all.

International Women’s Day book recommendation: Invisible Women by Caroline X. Great for anyone interested in the way society has been constructed without women and girls in mind, from urban planning, government policy and product design.

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