International Women’s Day: Spotlight on Natasha Jones
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we caught up with Natasha Jones, who first joined BT as an apprentice and is going from strength to strength, now working as a Technical Specialist.
How did you start your career at BT?
Having studied film production at college, that initially sparked my interest in the media and broadcast industry. Then I got swept along the path to university, but once I was a few months in, I realised it wasn’t for me - I’m far more practical and hands on than my course was, so I withdrew to figure out what I wanted.
I was working full time and that’s when I started looking into apprenticeships. I came across the BT scheme and applied for the digital and technology solutions apprenticeship in Media & Broadcast (M&B), where I eventually joined the team and studied for my degree simultaneously. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was applying for at first, as I had no idea about the complexity of how content was delivered to a television screen. It was very appealing for me to work in a sector that provides amazing experiences that people are exposed to every day - without even realising what goes on behind the scenes.
I’ve been with the M&B team ever since, having rotated around the business during my apprenticeship, experiencing product, sales, operations and so much more. I now work as a Technical Specialist, where I support the sales team, engaging with customers and ensuring our solutions are suitable and meet their present and future requirements.
Which parts of your role do you enjoy most?
Without a doubt, it’s the opportunity for continuous learning. This industry is evolving non-stop, and it’s fantastic to be at the forefront of innovation within media and broadcast. And the solutions we’re providing are constantly changing. For instance, what might be a perfect solution today may not be the right one next year. It’s exciting to work closely with customers to ensure our solutions are easily adaptable and future-proofed.
My role is focused on working with major broadcasters, enabling premium content to be seen by billions of viewers worldwide. This is both for day-to-day requirements as well as working on complex, bespoke bids for major contracts.
This requires me to build and maintain strong relationships with my customers. To be a trusted advisor, to think creatively and take a problem-solving approach to situations. It’s all about understanding the customers’ requirements, what the opportunities are, and collaborating to ensure we exceed their expectations. I love being able to take a very technical design, translate it into a business proposition and deliver something that has impact.
What are you passionate about in the industry?
To understand future connectivity requirements, we need to have a clear picture of where the industry is heading. And that’s where the innovation of broadcasting technology has fascinated me - from my day-to-day job, attending industry events and focusing on innovation in both my dissertation and Final Major Project. The area that piques my interest most is Object-Based Broadcasting (OBB) and giving the user the control to define their own viewing experience. We talk a lot about diversity and inclusion, and this is where OBB will open many opportunities, including improving accessibility options for the hard of hearing and visually impaired.
Beyond the innovation and tech side, I also have a huge passion for sustainability. I’ve attended the DPP Tech Leaders Forum for the past three years, and it’s been fascinating to watch how the conversation within the industry as a whole has changed – from a heavy focus on getting teams to incorporate sustainability at a local level through to encouraging companies to bring it in line with their business values.
The skills gap is another area that I’ve started to have more exposure to, and although the issue has possibly been around for a while, it’s great to see something now being done about it. The Rise Up Academy was a programme which grabbed my attention and is something I’m actively getting involved with. They run practical workshop sessions in schools up and down the country, seeking to close the skills gap and start educating young people about the industry and the many different opportunities that are out there and available to them. I completed my volunteer training a few weeks ago and I can’t wait to get started!
As you’d expect, this industry is male dominated, and there was a period of time in my early career that I didn’t think about or even mind this being the case. Perhaps made easier with my love for sports, I’ve always been comfortable in this working environment. Now that I’ve been incredibly lucky to have both male and female role models and mentors, I can clearly see the benefits to having both who offer different perspectives. I’ve had brilliant male mentors and managers, and having women that I can look up to as well has had a hugely positive impact on me, building my confidence more than I would have expected, and making me realise that anything is possible. I feel very proud and empowered to be a woman in this field.
Creativity connected. Content assured.