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ITP Award Winner 2023 - Graduate of the Year
/ Zoe Smith-Creasey

Zoe impressed the judges with her can-do attitude, embodying the qualities we expect from graduates. She has wholeheartedly embraced the program, ensuring its promotion and utilisation to the fullest extent. Zoe consistently lends her support to volunteering events, aiming to motivate and inspire other young individuals to pursue STEM fields. Eager to participate in these initiatives, she actively serves as the Graduate Ambassador, encouraging others to follow in her footsteps. Through her strong work ethic, enthusiasm, and innovative mindset, Zoe has made significant positive contributions to the business, making her a truly deserving winner of the Graduate of The Year award.

In our conversation with Zoe, she shared insights into her career journey, experiences, challenges, and triumphs to date. Here's what she had to say:

1.       Can you share more about your journey in telecoms so far, including any specific projects or experiences that stand out to you?

I have been with BT for just over 2 years, starting my career within telecoms on their ‘Technology Professional’ graduate scheme. As a graduate, I have been able to gain a vast amount of experience in a variety of different projects, both technical and non-technical as well as becoming an SME for a complex application. One of my highlights has been the ability to participate in research such as participating in 5G Application testing which pushed the boundaries of 5G networks to help the business further understand such technologies and how this could be used in the future.

Within my current day to day job, one of my standout experiences has been presenting my Outsystems project, The Digital Purchasing Hub, to the Leadership Team. This project provides the Leadership Team with vital financial information and insights on the way that BT spends money with suppliers. Presenting this project allowed me to gain invaluable feedback to improve my solution and discuss the benefits and impact in which my project bought to the business.

2.       What motivated you to become a graduate ambassador?

I became a graduate ambassador as it allowed me to have the ability to give valuable feedback and insight to the Early Carers Team surrounding the graduate scheme. In addition, it gave me the opportunity to brainstorm ideas with other likeminded people to help transform and develop the scheme for future cohorts.

3.       How did you overcome the challenges of transitioning from a healthcare background to a more technical role in telecommunications?

Deciding to change my career from Healthcare to Technology was a daunting aspect at the time, but a decision I have never looked back on. I have always had an interest in Technology and completed a literature review as my university dissertation on the effect of virtual reality therapy on balance in paediatric brain injuries. When looking for a new challenge, I knew it was going to be in the technology sector and the BT graduate scheme gave me those opportunities to find my niche within the digital industry.

Coming from a Healthcare background I had lots of transferable skills, such as problem solving, conveying complex information, communication skills and I had a passion and a drive to learn. The main challenges I have faced I have overcome by continuously asking questions, being willing to learn and taking ownership for my own self development and career journey. The BT Graduate Scheme has provided me with a great basis of knowledge, a platform to learn and a wide network of people to help me develop.

4.       In your current role as a Process Designer within Robotic Process Automation, can you elaborate on the specific projects you've worked on and their impact on the business?

I am currently working as a Process Designer in the Centre of Excellence for Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Within my graduate scheme, I was lucky enough to spend a year with the team I am currently working in which has allowed me to quickly settle into my role, build a great rapport with my team and deliver value to the business. Throughout my time in the team as a graduate, I was able to be involved with many projects which improved and varied my skill set such as: Developing Blue Prism automations, gathering customer requirements, creating process flows, UI designs and delivering the final outcome to the customer and handing it over to the Process Support Team.

There are two projects which stand out most to me within my development so far:

1.      Using Blue Prism to automate an upload of Architectural data from an on-premise system into a modern cloud-based visualization tool.

Due to not having an out-of-the-box API between two systems, the team were manually uploading data across systems on a weekly basis. I created an automation that downloaded architectural data from a source system and then manipulated it before uploading it into the target system daily. This means that now strategic decisions are more accurate and reliable as the data is more current. Using automation for a routine process like this removes the ‘human’ issues of annual leave, sick leave, manual error and removes the dependency and reliance on humans for a routine repetitive task. Automating this process allows human focus on value-adding and business benefitting tasks.

2.     Use of Outsystems

One of my main projects has been to develop a system, called the Digital Purchasing Hub, to collect vital financial information for analysis and reporting purposes using Outsystems, which is a low-code platform used to build web apps. The data gathered by the tool allows for business insights into the way BT spends money with suppliers, enabling further cost-saving initiatives.

5.       Your involvement in Women in Technology events is commendable. How do you believe diversity and inclusion can be enhanced in the digital industry, and what role do you see yourself playing in this?

I have really enjoyed being involved in Women in Technology events, such as being a graduate panelist in 2022 and 2023 for Girls Talk London. I believe that promoting STEM subjects to everybody from an early age and showcasing potential and accessible opportunities available in the digital industry is vital. For myself, having representation within the industry and someone to look up to, such as Charlotte Goodwill, motivates and encourages me to push my career within the digital industry.

Throughout my career, I will continue promoting and attending Women in Technology events to help inspire the future generation to take up or further their career in the digital industry.

6.       Looking ahead, what are your aspirations and goals, both in your professional role and as a representative of the digital industry?

The digital industry is forever evolving and new technologies are emerging, therefore my goals are constantly moving forward to learn and develop to keep up with current trends. I am currently working within a Robotic Process Automation Team as a Process Designer, and my current goals are to become vendor certified in RPA to live up to and adhere to industry standards. With the technical industry-standard knowledge behind me, it will help me to create strategic solutions to current problems whilst benefitting the business.

Due to the fast pace of the digital industry, it is important to be dynamic and as a representative of the digital industry I aspire to keep pushing boundaries, act inquisitively, be self-aware of my own learning needs, challenge current processes and develop solutions in how we can transform these processes.

7.       Finally, what does winning this award mean to you?

Coming from a healthcare background, it has meant my skill set and knowledge had to grow exponentially to be able to keep up with the fast-paced digital industry. I have learnt so much within the last 2 years and it feels surreal to have won the ITP Graduate of the Year Award 2023. It is an honour to be named an ITP Winner and recognised within the digital industry. It encourages me to continue to grow, develop and learn towards my professional and personal goals, in addition to hopefully inspiring others who are considering a career in the digital industry.