Ana has been supporting The Turing Trust for several months in a variety of ways, from helping us to paint the office when we first moved in, to getting hundreds of donated computers ready to be sent to classrooms.
Ana recently secured a new job as Security Operations Centre Analyst at Adarma, a local cybersecurity company. So, to celebrate this exciting new chapter, we sat down with Ana to talk about her time at The Turing Trust and discover some of her favourite things about volunteering with a computer donation charity.
So Ana, first of all, what brought you to volunteer with The Turing Trust?
I was looking to improve my IT skills as I was keen to get a job in IT support. Despite lots of things being closed due to the pandemic, I was very happy to see that The Turing Trust had found a way to enable volunteering to continue. I was doing a CompTIA A+ course online, but this was all a bit theoretical, so I was particularly keen to learn some hardware skills and get the chance to practice with physical equipment too.
I think the fact that it was possible to get hardware experience, and fixing real-world problems, was a real draw to me as it’s hard to find opportunities like this. And of course, the fact that all your work repairing the computers means they go on to support students learning digital skills for the first time makes it feel really good too.
And how did you find it volunteering with us?
I really enjoyed my time volunteering. For me, it was the first time working in an office environment, so I found that very helpful as well as getting to know lots of new people. After learning a few things, I was very happy to be asked to start mentoring some of the newer volunteers. I was proud to be trusted in this way and to have this confidence placed in me.
I really loved seeing the charity grow and it was very rewarding to be a part of this. It worked well for me being able to combine my online cybersecurity course with my in-person volunteering. It created a nice synergy of doing theoretical learning alongside practical problem-solving. This brought the online learning to life a lot more than just looking at pictures online! It also meant that with lots of other people around at The Turing Trust who were also interested in IT or had worked in the industry a while, I could often ask people about things I was learning at the time.
And tell us a bit about your new, exciting job?
I am now working as a Security Operations Centre Analyst at Adarma, a local cybersecurity company. I’m really pleased with this as after completing a few training courses, and of course, getting some hardware experience at The Turing Trust, I’ve managed to get into the IT industry where I wanted.
Is there anything you’d like to say to anyone who might be thinking about volunteering?
I would say that volunteering is a really great experience and if you’re not sure if it’s for you then definitely give it a try for one day and see the environment. The workshop is really relaxed and friendly with a wide range of different personalities. I found that even throughout covid, the workshop took these things seriously and made sure that people could come and work in a safe environment, reducing anxiety around this.
I should also say that getting a reference from The Turing Trust after volunteering probably helped in a tiny way with getting my new job. When going through the application process it helped to be able to talk about the hardware work I’d done and they could see I was confident in what I’d learnt. So I would really recommend this to anyone else who it might help!
If you want to give volunteering a go, you check out our current openings and apply here.