Sidra | UK
STUCK IN A LOOP
Early in secondary school, Sidra decided to focus her studies in healthcare. She got her A-levels in Science and pursued a university degree in Biomedical Science. But like many young people who later come to find Generation, she didn’t have a clear idea of how to link her studies with a career path.
She told us, “I was just kind of confused as to what I wanted to do with my life from there. Because once I graduated, I was also thinking there are very limited jobs out there, but there are hundreds of applicants.”
Sidra was hard-working, though. Early on in her University days, she was hired part-time by the National Health Service (NHS) to do admin work for doctors. But upon graduating, and beginning to do that work full-time, she saw no progression either financially or in terms of her career. She had managed to secure a job in healthcare, but was stuck in the waiting room answering phones.
“I really wanted to do something in relation to my degree,” she told us, “But wasn’t getting anywhere.”
When she would ask her managers about the possibility of advancement, or doing a different kind of work in another part of the practice, she hit one dead end after another. “Try again in a year or two,” she was often told. She wanted a real challenge at work, financial stability, and a career she could be proud of. And as the years went on, all of that felt increasingly more elusive.
“It put me in more of, like, a depressive state because I didn’t know what I was doing with my life. I was just doing the same thing day in and day out.”
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
At 26, she was newly married and moved to London with her new husband. She had to find new footing in a much bigger city, and of course, a job. It was then that her husband suggested she try a different career path outside of healthcare. He suggested the growing field of technology, something that would captivate her mind.
“At first I was thinking tech isn’t really for me. I was just super scared. I was thinking, it’s a very male dominated sector. Where am I going to fit into that?” But Sidra’s husband convinced her to at least attend a Generation open house. There, she was exposed to a very different world than the one she had imagined, “I found out there’s actually quite a lot of women joining the tech industry, you just don’t hear about it. That got me really thinking, if they can do it, why can’t I be given the opportunity?”
She decided to give it a go. As she progressed through the course and experienced the rigorousness of the program, and saw that she was actually being put on a pathway to a new career, she grappled with disbelief. “You didn’t need any formal qualifications when joining the program. You didn’t need to know anything about tech. So that was very shocking for me. It was so amazing and literally anyone could do it.”
FINDING HER PATH
Sidra was surprised to receive a job offer a week after graduating, from one of Generation’s employer partners.
She reflects on her first few weeks of work: “You do get that horrible imposter syndrome when you first join. I was thinking, I don’t know anything. But I really did because Generation really prepared me for it.” Within 6 months, she received her first promotion and a clear signal that this was just the beginning of her growth at the company.
The salary she was now commanding blew her away. “It changed my financial situation massively.”
Today, Sidra is confident about the trajectory of her life and feels secure enough financially to grow her family (thanks also in part to her company’s very generous maternity leave policies). When we spoke with Sidra for this story, she was expecting a child and just weeks away from giving birth. She enumerated all the little things she had to buy for the new baby from bottle sterilizers to cribs and pushchairs. “It can get quite expensive. If I had remained in healthcare, bringing a child into this world would have been a nightmare, financially. But now, I can afford anything for my child. Generation really changed my life. This has been a dream come true.”
A week after we spoke, baby Sophia was born.