Working at MadLab – one year on
I almost can’t believe that I’ve now been working at MadLab for over a year. So much has happened, and I have had so many opportunities to develop. I’d hate to think what I would be doing right now had I not taken the plunge.
I started with MadLab in June 2015 as their Bookings Manager, but now, I have become so much more. I was originally in charge of looking after venue hires, courses, desk hires, and general day to day management of the building, but this has now evolved into;
- Venue hire management
- Courses management
- Desk-hire management for two venues
- Day to day management of two venues
- Workshop development
- Workshop delivery
- Event organising
- Project management
- Community management
- Staff management
- Staff development
- Bid writing (although I’m still crap at it)
- Marketing (also not my strongest point)
Despite the comprehensive list, I’m still not convinced that entirely covers everything I do. The thing about working at MadLab is that no two days are the same, and I can be doing completely different things from week to week.
Here are some highlights of my time at MadLab so far;
One of the biggest aspects of my work at MadLab has been developing, delivering and organising workshops. Since Summer 2015, there have been a number of initiatives I have worked on;
- Coding & Craft Workshops – teaching children how to make a flappy bird style game using Scratch
- National Coding Week 2015 – a series of five taster session workshops for adults who want to learn how to code
- Coding Roadshow – teaching basic python and electronics programming with CodeBug to adults across Greater Manchester
- Hour of Code 2015 – a series of workshops teaching children how to code using CodeBug in Bury
- Django Girls Manchester – a one day workshop teaching women web development using HTML, CSS, Python and Django
- Code Club: Train a Trainer – a workshop to help adults set up their own Code Club outside of a school setting
- International Women’s Day 2016 – Taster session coding workshops for women in Manchester
- See like a bat – one day workshops teaching children how to make ‘bat goggles’ using an arduino
- Rails Girls Manchester – coming August 2016
I have also been given opportunities to deliver training courses. This includes teaching women in Greater Manchester how to create their own website using WordPress for the Business Growth Hub. I also taught unemployed women in Greater Manchester how to use social media and basic web development for Digital Skills for Women 2015. More recently, I was involved with teaching youth workers how to make science fun for young people for the Wellcome Trust.
When I deliver professional training I always suffer from imposter syndrome. I used to think that my only professional expertise were in debt collection, so I often get nervous. This is because I am providing training on something, which not so long ago, I also knew nothing about. Working at MadLab has made me realise that it doesn’t matter how you came about the knowledge you have. It also doesn’t matter how much you know on a subject. What matters is the ability and drive to share what you know with others. By not being someone with formal digital training, I also find that I can often make the subject more relatable to people with limited STEM skills.
I am living proof that you don’t need a degree in Physics or Computer Science to successfully deliver fun and engaging science experiments or teach people how to code!
Have you ever worked for a company where trying to get sent on training courses is a nightmare? In my first year at MadLab, I have been given the opportunity to attend more training courses than I have previously completed in my life.
I have had professional WordPress training from Mike Little (the co-founder of WordPress), learnt about Arduino & IoT on one day courses, attended two days of Raspberry Pi Training with Picademy, STEM training from the Museum of Science and Industry and Science Communicator Training from the Wellcome Trust.
If I find training that would help me, I get to go on it!
I am the founder of CodeUp Manchester, a volunteer initiative to support adults who want to learn how to code. Not only has my work developing Manchester’s first adult Code Club been supported by MadLab, but the development and expansion of the project has been actively encouraged.
So far this year CodeUp has opened in Stockport and Sheffield, and we already have plans to also open in Oldham, Leigh and Leeds by the end of the year.
My future at MadLab
I’m not saying that everything at MadLab is plain sailing. We’re a small organisation that punches way above it’s weight. I have a boss who I swear is a robot, she’ll pull me up on the smallest mistake, and has made me all the better for it. She is both brilliant and a pain in my arse, she has taught me so much, and opened up so many brilliant opportunities for me, I can’t imagine how my life might be had she never taken a chance on me! Some days can be hectic, and it can be really hard work. I’ve seen my fair share of 16 hour shifts and seven day working weeks, but the best thing, I’ve loved every minute of it.
Working at MadLab I have finally realised what it’s like to enjoy your job, to really care about the work you do, and the company you work for. My world has been changed for the better, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.Thanks for reading!
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