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Life in the Fibre Engineering Team

Ellen Higginbottom

Fibre Analyst

February 10, 2022

Have you seen the news about the exciting things our Network Expansion team are getting up to?

With an ever-growing team, we spoke to Ellen Higginbottom. She’s now a Fibre Quality & Governance Analyst but was originally a Business Field Engineer, so she really understands what goes on behind the scenes in the Fibre Engineering team as we grow our network.

Growing my career

8 years ago, I joined Virgin Media. I started out doing some office work but then saw an ad for a Business Field Engineer Apprentice and knew I wanted to go for it. I got the opportunity to help with things like cabling, talking to customers and doing the faults and installs, those sorts of things. I won’t lie, it’s a pretty male-dominated team, but I absolutely loved it and instantly felt part of the team. No two days were ever the same and I ended up in some weird and wonderful places, like airport runways and TV studios. I felt like a superhero sometimes with all my equipment.

A few years later, I saw an opportunity for a Fibre Quality & Governance Analyst job – analysing reports from fibre engineers and checking whether the tests they’ve done are complete, or need a little more attention. I could see what development it would offer me and I was ready for my next challenge.

What I enjoyed about my time as a Business Field Engineer was that I got to be out in the field, and while my current role is more desk-based I still get the opportunity to join some of my colleagues out in the field and learn from them and it’s always a good laugh. I’ve never had that in desk roles before, so I think it’s brilliant and helps to mix up your normal working day.


The importance of team play

What’s really stood out for me working in Network Expansion is the way everyone has each other’s back. Although we’ve got core hours, if somebody is in need, we’ll always be happy to jump on and help. Because I have a Field Engineer background, I think I’ve got a good understanding of what some of the teams such as our Fibre Engineers are going through. I’ve been there when it’s a Friday afternoon, everything feels like it’s crumbling, and you just want to go home. It happens and it can be frustrating, but they know they can always talk to us because we understand and everyone’s grateful for it.

As I said, I’ve got plenty of time under my belt now, and for me, it’s not just the job but the people who make you realise what a great place it is to be. There are deep connections built across the business that you don’t always get at other companies. It’s the culture here as well. We celebrate diversity and people’s differences, and we’re also honest about things. I like that upfront attitude. It might seem like a given, but honestly, all the other companies I’ve worked for, those things didn’t really matter to them.

Nowhere’s perfect, don’t get me wrong, but you do feel like you’re getting the whole package here, while also having room to grow. I’ve got a supportive manager, options of flexible working, good benefits and years of qualifications and training such as SCTE (Society of Telecommunications Engineers) and City and Guilds I can carry through my whole career. The teams only getting bigger and I’m genuinely really excited to see what we can achieve.

To anyone thinking about joining Network Expansion at Virgin Media, especially the women out there you will never be more welcome. I haven’t felt like I needed to prove myself because we all know we can get the job done well and if there are any concerns or support you need – it’s here. It’s such an exciting time to join as we’re growing, and we’d love to have more friendly faces on the team.

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