A recent graduate from Manchester Met University, she lives in Manchester working as a graduate software engineer at the BBC in MediaCity, Salford. Lucy has worked on areas as diverse as the Voice+AI team to front end development on the Sport website.
She first came across CodeYourFuture while in the middle of her industrial placement year. She wanted to learn more about User Experience, and using Meetup.com, researched opportunities there to learn about UX. She came across a CodeYourFuture event recruiting volunteers to run the very first Manchester class. Immediately she thought it would be a great way for her to use her skills and help others in a real, tangible way, meet new people with similar interests, and also develop her own skill set further. She went along to the event and has been involved ever since, over 12 months and counting!
Let’s hear from Lucy herself about her experience.
What have you been doing so far as a CodeYourFuture volunteer?
“When I first started I was mainly helping to teach the class and plan the Saturday classes with other volunteers. As time went on my role became more organisational, helping to make decisions and making sure other volunteers and students had what they needed in Saturday classes and online during the week. Throughout my time here I have tried to recruit as many volunteers as possible, presented at Meetup events and promoted the volunteering opportunities through social media. I’ve also spent time trying to increase recognition of CodeYourFuture within the volunteering and charity communities in Manchester and the North West. I helped to organise and coordinate the first CYF conference in Manchester in 2018, helping to find accommodation and catering for students and volunteers. More recently, my role has involved onboarding new volunteers into CYF Manchester and supporting volunteers across the education and personal development teams.”
Sounds like you’ve been busy Lucy! But I’m sure it hasn’t all been easy. Did you have any concerns before joining CodeYourFuture? What were they and how did you overcome them?
“My main concern was that I didn’t have the required skills (technical or otherwise) to be able to help effectively. As it was my first time volunteering and I had only been on my placement year for a few months, I had no other professional experience within tech. However, once I arrived and met the students and other volunteers, I began to feel more like I had something to contribute. At first, there was definitely an element of feeling out of my comfort zone, but I worked on taking small steps to build up my skills, from helping to answer questions to presenting full Saturday classes. I was also surrounded by a number of other volunteers who were very encouraging and we worked as a team to help and support each other.”
Amazing to hear about your own development. What have you most enjoyed about your time at CodeYourFuture?
“For me, the best thing about CodeYourFuture has always been the people – the other volunteers, the staff and the amazing students. We all come from such a wide range of backgrounds and cultures, speak so many different languages and have different skills, it is so inspiring to be in a space where all this effort comes together for a common purpose. I have built lasting relationships through my work with CYF, many of them friendships that now extend beyond our volunteering.”
The great sense of community really is something that makes CodeYourFuture so special! Are there any other ways volunteering at CodeYourFuture has helped you to grow?
“100% – I joined when I was in a very early stage of my career, and during the last 2 1/2 (almost 3!) years I have developed massively both personally and professionally, a lot of which I attribute to my time with CYF. Helping to teach the classes meant that my technical skills improved a lot, and talking to other volunteers meant that I gained a better understanding of what it was like working within the tech industry in Manchester. I also developed my professional skills such as teamwork, communication and public speaking – I went from having presented to around 15 people at uni, to speaking in front of over 100 people, many of them strangers, at the first CYF conference after only 6 months. I have been presented with so many opportunities to grow and develop during my time with CYF, it has been a huge part of my life for a long time – it was even the subject of my dissertation for my degree – and I am massively grateful for all the support and encouragement I have been shown.”
What is one important thing you think people should know when they are thinking of volunteering with CYF?
“My advice would be to not worry too much about whether you feel 100% qualified for tasks, there will always be other volunteers there to support you. I would also suggest really thinking about what kind of time is realistic for you to spend volunteering, a smaller amount each week over a long time period is much better for you and us, rather than overcommitting and burning out after a few weeks/months!”
Are you interested to get involved with CodeYourFuture too?
Take a look at our Volunteers page for more information.