Graduate Laura Williams chose to work with Vodafone due the the company's excellent diversity and inclusion policies

Learn what a Vodafone Learning & Development Specialist job entails

Learn what a Vodafone Learning & Development Specialist job entails

Laura Williams is a graduate with Vodafone, working as a Learning & Development Specialist. Following the news that Vodafone has been named a Times Top 100 Graduate Employer, she shares insight into her career journey.

How did you come to join Vodafone as a graduate and what attracted you to the company?

After studying psychology at university and doing a year in industry in business psychology, I left university with a real passion for people. This led to my decision to want to work in HR. However, what I really wanted to do was help people, unlock their potential and ensure everyone has a fair chance in the workplace. Therefore, diversity and inclusion policies were really important to me when choosing where I wanted to work. In my research, I found that Vodafone had a global maternity policy, had launched a Reconnent scheme to help women back into work after a career break, and had a very active LGBT+ network. In my interview, I also asked my interviewer what their opinion, as a woman, was of working at Vodafone. The extremely positive response about a warm inclusive culture, on top of all the amazing policies, attracted me to Vodafone.

Can you talk us through your career journey with Vodafone so far?

I have been with Vodafone for over a year now. I started in the Global Diversity & Inclusion team. It was the perfect fit for me, with my background in business psychology and diversity, and my passion for helping others. I was involved in some amazing projects, such as launching a Global Domestic Violence Policy, creating a webpage with information for disability and organizing global webinars to celebrate Women’s Week, International Day of People with Disabilities and Pride.

I then moved to work as a Business Specialist for Technology. In this role there was a large focus on employee engagement, and looking at how we can improve employee experience. There was much more one to one interaction with employees than my previous role, which I enjoyed. It was also a great opportunity to upskill myself on the technology products and solutions that we at Vodafone create and innovate. I never thought I would know as much about 5G and IOT as I do now!

My final rotation on my graduate scheme is in Global Learning and Development for our Marketing Academy. Coming into this role with 0 experience in marketing has been a really steep learning curve, but an incredible challenge and I have enjoyed it so far. I now spend my time strategizing based on learning needs, optimising digital learning experience and ensuring classroom learning runs smoothly.

In just one year I have had 3 very different roles, each rotation pushing me out of my comfort zone and helping me to learn something new. It has been a great experience.

Tell us about your current job position, the skills required and what you do on a daily basis?

Currently I am a Learning and Development Specialist for our Global Marketing Academy. We look after all of the learning for over 5,000 marketers across Vodafone. Every day is slightly different. Learning needs analysis, along with input from subject matter experts, helps us to shape a curriculum.

We meet and collaborate with third parties and subject matter experts to ensure that the most up to date relevant and engaging learning is provided. On a more technical side, I am working to make the online learning management system as smooth as possible for learners, so they can find everything on offer to them in one place. Some days I might be in classroom learning, ensuring sessions run smoothly.

We also work closely with L&D spocs in our markets to ensure consistency of learning across all of our markets. To do this role I feel communication skills are key – being able to understand from learners exactly what they need, then transferring this, and working with others to create the right learning.

What are the main challenges in the area you work in at the moment?

In HR now, particularly working in a technology company, a big challenge is ensuring we have female representation. As a young woman myself, this is something I am highly passionate about. Not only getting females into leadership positions, but also seeing female representation throughout the organisation.

Getting young females interested in technology is something Vodafone have started to work on. Our Code Like a Girl initiative teaches girls 14-18 how to code. All our graduate intakes are 50/50, ensuring that the pipeline coming through now can help us reach our gender goals. We also inspire the young women entering the organisation, through mentoring or coaching, but also celebrating admired high achieving women in International Womens Week through our Woman in Red awards.

What advice would you give to young girls interested in technology? 

Working in technology is an incredible career choice, full of innovation and excitement. There are so many different jobs available to you, from software or network engineering to data science, or even cyber security. If you are interested at all in technology then my advice would be to apply for a graduate scheme or apprenticeship. Through these schemes you can learn all that you wanted to learn, and even things you didn’t know existed. If you want to learn more about these schemes,

Vodafone regularly attend career fairs, and there is a wealth of information on our careers page. Vodafone is an incredible place to kick start your career in technology, we are paving the way for what networks really have the power to do, and it is such an exciting place to work. Beyond that, as a young woman myself, I can say that Vodafone has such an open inclusive environment, we openly celebrate and champion women.

The common perception that technology companies have male dominated culture couldn’t be further from the truth, Vodafone are working hard to bring in more and more female talent, and female leaders are all around us. There are so many opportunities, through mentorship or coaching to develop yourself and one day you could be a female leader in technology.

For women looking to apply for jobs with Vodafone, what skills and qualities are most valued there?

For me, the biggest commodity at Vodafone anyone has is the ability and appetite to learn quickly. As we move to becoming a technology company, we are all learning something new and reskilling ourselves all the time. Being able to pick things up quickly and having the desire to learn about what is coming next, really helps here. Another quality that goes hand in hand with this, is curiosity. Asking why, wanting to know what’s coming next and not being afraid to question and challenge the norm. The final quality I will highlight is inclusivity and an open mind; at Vodafone, we pride ourselves on celebrating and embracing difference.

Vodafone has been named a Times Top 100 Graduate Employer. Why is the company deserving of this accolade?

At Vodafone I am not treated as a graduate, who only does admin tasks and shadows. I do a real role that has impact on the company, whilst also allowing me to develop and learn. I feel this is highly valuable, as I am constantly pushed out of my comfort zone, and have real experience of how to add value to a company.

I also love that in my three rotations on this graduate scheme, I have done three very different jobs. Each of these teaching me new things about my business area, challenging my previous conceptions and helping me shape what I want to do in the future. The variety has also taught me the ability to learn very very quickly. Being chucked into the deep end of a new business area is the best way to learn.

While “being chucked in” may sound scary – by far the best thing about this scheme is the level of support we receive. Line managers are incredible at Vodafone; they are able to support you whilst also ensuring that you have enough challenge to be comfortably uncomfortable and always learning.

What do you enjoy most about working with Vodafone?

It is hard to choose just one thing – so I will have to quickly mention two things I love about working with Vodafone. Firstly, and probably most importantly, is the open friendly culture we have here. After working in other companies, and hearing of friends' experiences, as a young woman in a big organisation, I was worried my voice wouldn’t be heard and my career options would be limited. That couldn’t be further from the truth here in my experience. The other thing I love is the pace of change, we are moving with a rapidly changing industry and there is always something new to learn and try out.

How can Vodafone, and individuals like yourself, increase female representation in technology?

For me personally, I think mentorship and coaching is invaluable to helping female representation. We need to get the pipeline of the future representative, so that our future leaders can achieve parity. Offering young women entering a career in technology or even girls at university or school who are considering technology, an inspirational woman who they can aspire to be like is key. Not only showing them who these women are, but giving them access to open conversation with them. Allowing them to get advice from them and learn from these woman. We need women who lead now to help other women up the ladder and inspire the leaders of the future.

What's the best piece of career advice you've ever had, or would like to share from your own perspective?

Don’t be afraid to ask. If I want something or see an opportunity that I think could be right for me, I just need to ask. The worst answer will be no, or you are not quite ready yet. At least people will know I am interested, and if opportunities come in the future, they will have me in mind.

How would you describe yourself both professionally and personally?

My passion is pervasive in both my professional and personal life. I am really passionate about people; understanding how people work, wanting to help them achieve the best and a desire for an equal society for all. This comes through in my diversity and inclusion work at Vodafone, I am a qualified mental health first aider and I have a psychology degree.

I would also say I have the tendency to be a perfectionist, especially when I am highly engaged in my work (which luckily for me being passionate about my work helps me to be engaged). I like work to be done to the best of my ability and like to turn work around as quickly as I can. Before starting work, I like to understand the scope and who it is going to impact, to help me to give it 110%.

I love to be social – hence a career in HR was right for me. I love spending time getting to know people, or catching up with them. Be that over a coffee at work or at a bar at the weekend, socialising is a big part of my life. Vodafone is a great workplace for me, because of the number of events they put on to encourage networking; I am always meeting people from different parts of the organisation and from all across the globe!

What are your interests and hobbies outside work? 

Before work in the morning, I like to get up and run. This clears my head for the day and wakes me up. I really notice the mornings I wake up late and do not manage to fit a run in, because I am not as focused or motivated throughout the day.

I also love socialising. I like getting to know people from all walks of life, each person giving me a different insight into how they perceive the world. When I think about that at work with my inclusion hat on, it helps me to look at my work and think what would this person or that person want to get from this?

Start an exciting career with prime employer, Vodafone

Vodafone offers exciting opportunities to talented women around the world, from apprentices and graduates through to experienced hires. 

Search and apply for your next role with Vodafone today and see where your career will take you. 


Find out more

Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

Share this page:

Join our women's careers community