00:00:04 My name is Fran W and I’m a core network planner for Vodafone. What that means is I do a quality assurance role, so I design and develop techniques that allow us to quality assess the core network.
00:00:18 I knew when I got to GCSEs I had a strong aptitude in things like maths and chemistry, etc, so I just sort of went down that route and made the natural progression from GCSEs to A level. I actually did quite a lot of A level subjects. I did chemistry, physics, maths, further maths, design and technology, and computing. Engineering seemed like the right choice for me. It was like… but obviously I wasn’t aware of all the different disciplines and I wasn’t sure what was going to suit me, so I decided I wanted to do a general engineering degree, and that’s only offered by a couple of universities across the country, one of them being Cambridge, so I thought ‘why not?’
00:01:02 I put together an application for Cambridge. I had support from my teachers. I got through to the interview stage. That was me. Four years down the road I graduated from Cambridge in June 2008.
00:01:18 I really enjoyed the whole university experience. Definitely in the first couple of years I did seize the opportunity to be a typical student. I went out and enjoyed the social scene, joined different clubs. I ran for the university. I played football for my college. But it was hard work, don’t get me wrong. Especially in the final two years, I really did sort of knuckle down. There was lots to do.
00:01:44 In the first year I was quite fortunate my parents supported me quite a bit, but I decided I didn’t want their help. I found myself an engineering job in the summer but they also offered me sponsorship, so that really did help me out quite a bit. I worked for an engineering consultancy in building services, so I was looking at doing thing such as laying cables in buildings, lighting. I was aware from the placement that I did that it wasn’t my passion. And, looking at what I specialised in, I knew that I would probably enjoy a career in telecommunications and I sort of explored that role further in my final year. It was through that that I decided that I would definitely want to go down the road of working in telecommunications really.
00:02:36 My mum is in the Metropolitan police force and my dad is military. My father had a big influence on what I wanted to achieve. From an early age, he knew I was good at maths and he encouraged me to go down that route, really. He helped me the best he could until, you know, it got to the point that he could no longer do the work that I was getting set at school. He gave me all the support he could do along the way.
00:03:08 I definitely do think I’ve struck a good work/social life balance. I find time to go out on the weekends with my friends. I also go out with my colleagues sometimes for dinners, or, you know, the fair was in town so we went to the fair. I go to the gym three times a week. Vodafone has its own gym on site. I also go climbing, indoor climbing –that’s local to here – and I also run for Newbury Athletics Club. I usually train with them twice a week and I also swim.
00:03:48 In five year’s time, I would like to have my own team that I manage, and just be actively involved in the project and the work that they’re doing.