Swiss role inspired Holly’s move into the digital world

Holly Lidbury is Education Lead at the Ebbw Vale-based National Digital Exploitation Centre

Holly Lidbury is Education Lead at the National Digital Exploitation Centre

A CHANCE conversation with her employer when working in Geneva changed Holly-Marie Lidbury’s direction in life, and now she’s helping to give other people access to a fulfilling career.

Known as Holly, the 26-year-old Exeter University English Literature graduate from Caerphilly is Education Lead at the Ebbw Vale-based National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC), a joint project run by University of South Wales (USW),Thales - a multinational business operating in the electrical systems, aerospace, defence, transportation and security sectors – and the Welsh Government.

NDEC was established to help provide job opportunities across South East Wales through digital training, research, cutting-edge facilities and access to state-of-the-art technologies. It supports local and regional businesses, schools and individuals to develop digital skills to help Wales become an industry-leader in the tech industry.

Having started with NDEC in June 2019, and in her current role since last November, Holly took quite a unusual route into digital teaching.

After attending the Cathedral School in Cardiff and completing her degree at Exeter, she worked in London for a few months before deciding on a change of scenery and moved to Switzerland to be an au pair in Geneva.

“I’d done quite a few different types of jobs but found - having spoken to my employer in Geneva, who worked for The United Nations International Computing Centre – that I was quite interested in what it is all about,” Holly explained.

“I’d done some project management work for a bank while at uni, and digital marketing after I graduated. They weren’t for me, but gave me an understanding of the business world, so I was keen to see how teaching fitted in with that.”

When she returned from Geneva, having completed a few courses in Switzerland, Holly did a Masters in Computing at Cardiff University, with a specific focus on the business functions of the sector.

While looking for her perfect role, Holly worked as an IT and Maths teacher in a school, then on an NHS project in Blaenau Gwent, before securing her current job at the NDEC. And it’s turned out to be the perfect fit.

“I’ve was keen that the teaching I do would have some agency, an end result, which fits in perfectly with the NDEC,” said Holly.

“Since the whole project aims to give this part of Wales, in fact Wales as whole, a way to identify the skills needed to fill the skills gap in the digital sector, and to fill them, it was perfect for me.

“We’ve started by working with the schools in the region, and in September will be looking to do more with local SMEs, and making sure they have the skills to manage digital operations.

“We’ve also been working with the Government-run National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is aiming to raise awareness of careers in cyber and digital and get school pupils more interested in what it’s all about.

“All of this helps support my role of anticipating what the current and future needs are and will be, and making sure that the NDEC will continue to be at the cutting edge of digital education for years to come.” 

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