Montash supports the local community
As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy, we are proud to support Groundwork; a charity that tackles economic and environmental issues facing communities across the UK. Groundwork addresses a variety of causes; transforming neighbourhoods by reducing energy waste, providing professional training and creating jobs. Montash staff undertake a variety of tasks to help make a difference to local areas, including urban regeneration and school visits.
Working in the most disadvantaged parts of the UK, Groundwork helps people to create better places, improve their prospects and lead their lives in a greener way. Community improvement projects include landscaping in public spaces, enabling disadvantaged individuals to gain employment and providing young people with employment workshops to get ready for the world of work.
London is a tough place to be unemployed, especially for those without qualifications, skills or relevant experience. Today, we're facing a skills shortage in the UK, particularly in the tech industry.
WorkReady is a Montash initiative in collaboration with Groundwork, helping prepare students for the world of work. Montash staff visit London schools and help young boys and girls transition into professional life through a variety of workshops including CV workshops and mock interviews.
"The young people really enjoyed the Montash experience; they were able to explore career options especially within the technology industry. For young people to participate in activities which enabled them to write a professional CV and participate in mock interviews definitely left a lasting impression. I was really happy with the way young people engaged and asked questions around their futures"
Vandna Pathik - Head of Year 11 at The Green School
Download our Montash Workready brochure below here and lay the groundwork for your career with CV tips, social media advice and much more.
People who live in places that are greener, cleaner and safer are healthier and happier. We support Groundwork in improving communal places and in turn contribute to lower crime rates and higher levels of investment in local areas.
Learn more about Groundwork’s inspirational projects by going to their website.
Mental Health Awareness Week sparks lots of conversations and campaigns around how to maintain your mental wellbeing, and one of the hot topics is around managing stress in the workplace. There will often be times where we are under pressure and, unfortunately, this is a factor that is not always in our control. A key skill is to recognise the signs of your body when feeling stressed, as we don’t always know we are stressed until there is either a physical or mental health issue. Also, talk to someone about how you feel, whether that is a colleague, your manager or your doctor. We are often reminded that there is not a one-solution-fits-all for tackling this issue. But what we do know is that it’s good to open up the conversation and share experiences. The more we talk about it the less taboo the subject of mental health is. Today we are sharing insights from Suzanne Homes, from Shawbrook and Montash team members on how to manage stress: Suzanne HoLTHAM, SQL Developer at Shawbrook We all need time off, even if we don't feel like it. It can be tempting just to wait until you know more about when that go-live date for your project will be. But don't fall into that trap. Project deadlines can get rescheduled many times over and the next thing you know it's been a long time since you had a break from work, and you're exhausted. Book holiday time away from work. Even if you have nothing planned or nowhere to go, get the time booked off in the calendar. Lack of sleep can accelerate the path to burn out. Try to be strict with yourself and stick to a routine where you can get 7-8 hours sleep regularly. I use a schedule on my phone to automatically turn on the blue light filter after a certain time at night - it really does seem to make a difference. For those who are interested in an insightful read, my favourite self-help author is Brian Tracy. His books around goal setting and achievement gave me the kick start I needed at challenging times. Nandip Aulak, Head of Marketing, Montash One thing I do is to plan and organise my workload. I also make sure I prioritise each day. This may sound simple but, through doing this, I ensure that I am not only being effective and reaching my deliverables but I am also reducing the potential of work stress. Stakeholder management is also key; saying no when a deadline is not realistic is good work management for you and the business. I also always take a lunch break. This ensures I get time away from the screen and enjoy some fresh air. Katrina Macatangay, Finance manager at Montash Be part of the conversation around mental health and share your top tips on how you manage stress. One thing I’ve also learned on the way to relieving stress is asking for help. Many people think that when you ask for help from your colleagues or your friends, it means that you can’t do the job. For me that’s not really it, asking for help is a way of learning and getting assistance at the same time, and doing the job efficiently. It’s not a sign of weakness or incapability. Take a break! Reward yourself! I always make sure that I do this. Whether it’s having lunch/dinner with my colleagues after a long week of work or jetting off for a weekend break with family and friends. How do you manage stress in the workplace? Join the conversation - come and find us on LinkedIn, Instagram & Twitter...
One of our valued Montash candidates is Suzanne Holtham, who works at Shawbrook Bank as an SQL Developer. We took 5 minutes with Suzanne to gain an insight into her experience as a developer, her passion for tech, working as a woman in the industry and what advice she has for budding young developers with a tech career on the horizon. DESCRIBE IN ONE SENTENCE, WHAT IS THE ROLE OF AN SQL DEVELOPER? In a nutshell it is creating and maintaining databases, database objects and automated jobs to generate reports, extracts and batch loads. Beyond the nutshell, it is also likely to include elements of analysis and investigation, testing, documentation and support. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING AN SQL DEVELOPER? I’m implementation-focussed, so I always enjoy creating a solution to a problem/requirement and seeing that project through to go-live. The project length can vary from a 2-hour emergency ticket or a project over 2 years. The reward at the end is solving the problem and delivering the solution. DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO WORK IN TECH? I was a good all-rounder at school and didn’t have any firm ideas at the time of any specific careers to go into. Having said that, tech has always been a strong influence in my life as my father had a long career working for an early computing firm and by best friend also was into computing. I remember my Dad bought me a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 128K one Christmas as a child. He had me typing in programs from the manual on Christmas day. I was hooked. It was around the time of selecting university courses that I realised I could select a course in something I not only enjoyed but would also lead to a fruitful career. The girls 6th form I studied at did not offer IT at A-level at the time though, so it was a bit of a leap of faith. Thankfully, I landed on my feet, working on my passion. HOW HAS THE TECH INDUSTRY CHANGED? Specialisation and outsourcing. Early IT job adverts would specify “programmer wanted”, then you would learn whatever programming language was required on the job. Now, as the amount of different technologies in the market has grown, it is common for job specs to require the candidate to be trained in a string of specific technologies and to have substantial commercial experience in the particular business sector. Competition has tightened up and not just locally. Globalisation means that outsourcing companies are able to provide services from lower cost locations and compete with the local market place. As the economy has peaked and troughed and conditions have tightened I have known friends who have been made redundant multiple times and also kept their job multiple times. WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF YOUR JOB? Pressure and stress. There have been various stories in the media of IT projects that over-run or fail to deliver altogether. We hear about live systems that crash, causing chaos, reputational damage and financial loss. There is a constant pressure to deliver on time or fix a critical problem, and quite often those times are when your laptop will crash or an even more urgent problem that needs your attention will crop up. It can be a very stressful job. HOW HAS AUTOMATION CHANGED YOUR ROLE? Remote working. It is quite common now for desk-based office roles to have an element of remote working in them. Companies are quick to realise that office space costs can be reduced if hot desking and remote working is embraced. In addition, this removes the commuting element for workers and can help with work-life balance e.g. personal appointments are more easily fitted in without losing half a day of productivity. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER WOMEN STARTING OUT IN TECH? You will face challenges, and they will not necessarily be technical. Be flexible, be open to learning new skills and find out who your customers are – the project sponsor, the person who signs off your timesheet or completes your performance review at the end of the year. Work hard to build relationships within the business and with stakeholders, but also accept that you can’t please everyone all of the time. Have the confidence to say no. The very nature of the work you are doing may put you at odds with some people. This is OK. Try to handle it professionally, you’ll thank yourself afterwards. When I first started my career I would frequently hear the comment, “You don’t look like you work in IT”. It was a comment based on my looks, gender and a preconceived stereotyped image of a techie. I would take it as a compliment though, and I think it helps to try and find the positive in these experiences, even if it is just a takeaway of a life learning experience. WHAT ARE THE SOFT SKILLS THAT MATTER THE MOST? Good team fit, flexibility, ability to manage stress / pressure, even if that is by not working late most of the time! Always look to increase your knowledge to become more valuable. WHAT OTHER SKILLS ARE IMPORTANT IN YOUR ROLE? Listening, take notes (you won’t remember everything) and learn from others. Soak up everything you can. You cannot solve a problem if you don’t understand it. Looking for your next career step? Take a look at our open vancies here.
How easy do you find it to wind down after a long, hard day at work? After hours of meetings reports, calls, time spent at your desk and plugging away day-to-day, it can feel all-consuming both physically and mentally. It is important to remember that we aren’t robots - we can’t possibly do it all. You should avoid burning out and take the time to rest and refuel for the next day. Here are 5 tips on how to switch off from work: 1. Turn off your technology We hear it time and time again, but taking a screen break is a great way to help you unwind. With 5G just around the corner and our phone apps so easy to access instantly, technology has been incredible for streamlining the way we work. But it can also be a hindrance when we need to give our brains a rest. Put your phone to one side, avoid the urge to check your emails, turn off push notifications, turn on ‘do not disturb’ and leave your browse of social feeds to the next day. A mini digital detox can do you wonders. 2. End of work routine When you have been in back-to-back meetings and the workload is piling up, you can find yourself leaving the office with a rushed feeling. The brain responds to routine, so even clearing your desk and closing down your computer can send a signal that it’s time to switch off from work mode. Another positive step to end your day smoothly is to write out a list for the next day. Check your calendar, organise your priorities and have a well planned to do list, which means you are one step ahead of the game. 3. Get a good night’s sleep Sleep is one of the pillars of health and is up there with a good diet and exercise. That’s not surprising, given that we spend around a third of our lives asleep. Making sure you get enough of it has been proven to sharpen your brain, improving your concentration, productivity, problem-solving skills and memory. If you manage your 7-8 hours a night, the benefits will not only increase your daytime performance, but your emotional wellbeing too. 4. Give mindfulness a try “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us,” explains mindful.org. It can be a powerful tool, which not only helps you to switch off after work but during it, at times when you need a break. You don’t have to be a pro, either. With resources such as the Headspace app, beginners can learn all about the meditation process with helpful hints and tips along the way. 5. Find your own relaxation activity Mindfulness isn’t for everyone and many find alternative ways to relax after a hard day. Hobbies in people’s leisure time can vary from solo exercise, team sports, arts and crafts, photography, reading and more. The benefit of having a hobby is that it allows you to get away mentally, giving you a focus and distraction that brings enjoyment along the way. What do you do to switch off?
Alexandra Vonthron is reaching 7 months in her career with Montash. She has flown through her probation period, has already been promoted to an SAP Consultant and is growing from strength to strength as part of the Montash team. What makes Alexandra’s story so interesting, is that she came over from France to pursue this role. We asked her to share some of her experiences so far, the cultural differences she has noticed and what advice she would give to others who are considering a career in recruitment. What made you choose a career in recruitment? And why the UK? My boyfriend has been working in recruitment for a long time and was convinced I would be great at the role because he’d seen how I did in the world of events sales and service. He kept telling me recruitment is the same - it’s about people. It’s just as fulfilling both financially and what it does for the people you serve. The move to London made sense, as I was keen to try something new and working in London has always been part of the plan. So far so good! What are the main cultural differences you have identified? I’ve definitely noticed quite a difference in management styles. Management styles seem much more one to one and personalised in the UK. In France, relationships between bosses and employees are a lot more formal. Also, in the UK it seems to be a more driven and competitive environment at work. In general, I have found the British to be ‘on the ball’. They are very driven and start their career at a young age with lots of focus. What do you enjoy most about your role? One of the things I love the most about recruitment is that the environment is so friendly. I work with a team and they’re all so friendly - we have good banter, yet it’s always respectful. My managers are supportive and very encouraging. It’s so refreshing to come to work when it’s about so much more than just paying the bills. I love the rush you get when you’re about to secure a role and actually let the candidate know that they got the job - it can be very addictive! As soon as I have found the perfect fit for a client, I am searching for the next one and always thinking of new ways to get to ensure that I am supporting my clients and candidates after that. It keeps it exciting and interesting every day. Moreover, I really like the incentives such as the Director’s Top Table and the trips abroad. It makes you work harder and want to go for all of the awards! What advice would you give to someone moving to the UK to become a recruiter? My advice would be to make sure you are willing to give it a go. To be honest, my first few weeks were not easy at all, but I was persistent. By the fourth, I had understood what I am doing. So, give it time. On a personal note, ensure you have planned it well so that you don’t have your personal circumstances making it difficult for you - learning and settling into the job should be the priority. Are you interested in becoming a recruiter? Find out more about what it’s like to work in Team Montash here.