fbpx

SheCanCode Spotlight Series: Mei-Lin Vorkel, Data Analyst Apprentice, Veolia

Mei-Lin Vorkel, Data Analyst Apprentice, Veolia

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Mei-Len is an incredible example for women who want to change their career.

After spending more than ten years as cabin crew for an international airline, she decided during the pandemic that it was time for a career change and is now enrolled on Veolia’s data analysis apprenticeship scheme, contributing to making the planet a better place.

From having a career in the skies to being part of an amazing data team on the ground at Veolia, it’s never too late to take on a new challenge.

Mei-Len who works within Veolia’s IT and data team is enrolled onto the apprenticeship programme at Veolia, studying data analysis. After spending more than ten years as cabin crew, during the pandemic, she decided that it was time to explore another area for her career.

Mei-Len has always had an interest in data and analytics since studying computer science at higher education level as well as achieving a business and economics degree. After university she worked as a data administrator for two years before taking a different direction and joining the airline industry as a flight attendant. After ten years, Mei-Len returned to the technology industry and now works as a data analyst at Veolia UK on a Level 4 Apprenticeship, where she is currently contributing to the futuristic aims of the waste collection side of the business.

SHECANCODE CAUGHT UP WITH MEI-LIN TO TALK ABOUT WHY SHE CHOSE A CAREER IN TECH, HOW SHE TRANSITIONED, AND HER CAREER ADVICE FOR OTHER WOMEN IN TECH.

HOW DID YOU LAND YOUR CURRENT ROLE? WAS IT PLANNED?

I studied computer science during my education and really enjoyed it. After my first role in the industry, life took me in an alternative direction, where I worked as cabin crew for an international airline. After spending more than ten years in the airline industry in a number of different roles, the global pandemic provided an opportunity to reconsider my career pathway. I felt at the time that I could no longer grow in my role.

I had a look at the different opportunities and prepared by taking some courses to refresh my knowledge. I interviewed for Veolia as they had an apprenticeship scheme which would support my ambition to grow within the technology industry, whilst giving my work a purpose beyond the ordinary. The data I collect and transform is helping to contribute to ecological transformation and a better world for us all.

WHAT ARE THE KEY ROLES IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK, AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR CURRENT EXPERTISE?

I wanted to work in the world of digital business and technology, so I narrowed it down to a data analyst role. I thought it would really be interesting to have the skill to find key insight from data and be able to predict probabilities by using the vast array of data we collect from our operations. It can be quite a challenging role to be in, but I am determined to take the training and development opportunities available to me at Veolia throughout my apprenticeship to help me progress.

My role at Veolia is not just any data analytics role. It has given me the opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment and develop wider skills through my apprenticeship. I am in a business that implements technology at the forefront of a strategy to monitor the performance of recycling collections by using data to measure, set targets and look for areas to improve which in turn will help increase recycling rates.

DID YOU (OR DO YOU) HAVE A ROLE MODEL IN TECH OR BUSINESS IN GENERAL?

I have a role model but she is not in tech, she is my mum.

She has taught me the value of resilience, one of the greatest gifts she could ever give me.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER, SO FAR?

I am immensely proud of being able to change my career around from representing one of the biggest international airlines, to being part of a forward thinking analytics team at a global resource management company, Veolia with an environmental and ecological purpose.

I am also proud that I was able to return to an industry that I had not worked in for a significant amount of time and I put things in place to make sure that I was able to do this as smoothly as I could.

WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE WORK DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

My role at Veolia involves gathering and transforming the refuse and recycling collection data to optimise our collection routes, ensuring that we meet our clients’ KPIs and improve recycling rates.

I review the tasks on our issue and project tracking software to see what I need to complete, to enable other areas of the business to work with the data that I am measuring and generating. Other parts of my role involve attending stakeholder meetings and analysing areas for improvement by using the data that I monitor and transform. We will utilise this data to find trends and potential improvements to help reduce our carbon footprint.

ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC SKILLS OR TRAITS THAT YOU NOTICE COMPANIES LOOK FOR WHEN YOU’RE SEARCHING FOR ROLES IN YOUR FIELD?

Within the data and analytics industry, I have noticed that most places are looking for essential things such as a degree level qualification in the relevant field, as well as strong mathematical skills. They are also looking for the ability to problem solve at a reasonably high level, due to the nature of the work, problem solving is a large proportion of the role.

The other traits depend on the type of organisation or business that you are applying to. Before entering the world of Veolia, I wanted to make sure that as well as them choosing me, that they were also the right employer for me. It’s really important to make sure both your own and your company’s values are aligned.

HAS ANYONE EVER TRIED TO STOP YOU FROM LEARNING AND DEVELOPING IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE, OR HAVE YOU FOUND THE TECH SECTOR SUPPORTIVE?

I am lucky to be in a supportive team at Veolia, where as an apprentice I am supported with training and development designed to push me to the next level and help me adapt to a new environment.

I would recommend learning about the company you are working for to discover their purpose and what they want to achieve, because this could have close links to your role. In my role, Veolia has a number of training modules designed to help you learn about the industry and the environment you are working in.

HAVE YOU EVER FACED INSECURITIES AND ANXIETIES DURING YOUR CAREER, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?

There have been times when I have had self doubt, but when this happens you need to think about the situation, evaluate and then find ways to improve moving forward. The most important thing is to not let your emotions take over, if you feel like that is happening, you should take a break and come back to the task with a fresh mind.

ENTERING THE WORLD OF WORK CAN BE DAUNTING. DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS OF ADVICE FOR ANYONE FEELING OVERWHELMED?

We are all made of the same atoms and nobody should be afraid of the world of work, we all have different ways of  things.

One way into a company is by enrolling into an apprenticeship. I am currently on a Level 4 apprenticeship, but you can do one regardless of your skill level, and even age. At Veolia they have supported my aspiration to want to learn as well as use the skills that I already have to make a difference.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER WOMEN WANTING TO REACH THEIR CAREER GOALS IN TECHNOLOGY?

I would advise women who are wanting to reach their career goals in technology, that exploring the industry can be done at any time and it is never too late. I spent over ten years at an airline in a customer-facing role, and now I am part of the biggest resource management company in the United Kingdom, supporting their ecological KPIs with data analytics knowledge, as well as learning along the way in my training and development opportunities from the apprenticeship programme.

RELATED ARTICLES

Meet Georgia Davey, Integration Technician, at Seaeye, at Saab UK. Georgia talks to us about getting into the tech industry, walks us through an average...
Brooke Grindlinger, Chief Scientific Officer at The New York Academy of Sciences, shares her insights as she navigates the world of science, innovation, and leadership!...
Today, we sit down with Renske Galema from CyberArk. Renske tells us about her journey into tech, walks us through an ideal day at work,...
Nadia shares her leadership journey from being born as a Palestinian stateless refugee in Syria to becoming the VP of Engineering at HubSpot.

This website stores cookies on your computer. These cookies are used to improve your website and provide more personalized services to you, both on this website and through other media. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy.