Kimberley Bolton, CRM Support Consultant, K3 CRM
Q& A with Kimberley Bolton, CRM Support Consultant, K3 CRM
Twenty-one-year-old Kimberley Bolton is already carving out a promising career in IT and is an Apprenticeship Ambassador for Microsoft. We caught up with her just a few weeks after starting a new role.
Tell us about your schooldays – were you always attracted to technology?
I did a B-tech as part of my GCSEs, mainly on Microsoft Office and Excel and I enjoyed it. However, Technology was always a bit of a hobby as I was sure I would be going into Event Management.
So how did you eventually end up doing it?
My career path changed every few months, which is why I didn’t find my path till later. There were expectations for me to go to uni, but I never seriously considered that option as I wanted to stay around family and friends and not end up in debt.
We still hear that IT can be a tricky career choice for women – how was it for you?
It was definitely male dominated, which is why I pushed it to the back of my mind. It also takes a lot of self-study; you had to go to extra clubs and at school you’re limited to small sections of IT, considering how big the sector is now.
So how did you end up in Microsoft’s Partner Apprenticeship programme?
I was on the National Apprenticeship Website, applying in my area – and there it was. When I got to the interview with my first employer (Pythagoras) the role was customer facing, which was something I had experience in and thought I could develop my technical skills as I went along.
You must have been one of the UK’s first female IT apprentices?
I was treated really well – struggling sometimes, but everyone was really supportive. I started with basic tasks, shadowing other support consultants, then my responsibilities increased in stages; logging tickets, taking customer calls for colleagues, then taking them myself. When I finished my year, they offered me a fulltime role immediately.
So what is your new role at K3 CRM?
K3 CRM is a division of K3 Business Technology Group PLC dedicated to the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM across industries. They were looking for a full-time support consultant and, having helped improve support processes and documentation at my previous company, I was interested straight away. I could also see great career progression prospects and they were extremely supportive and interested in my Ambassador role…
What are your plans for the future?
I’m currently split between going into Account Management or taking on a Support Manager role. I also want to keep up my Microsoft ambassador work, because I really think it can help those who may be unsure of where their true path lies.
Finally, do you have any advice for other women considering IT apprenticeships?
Do your research – there’s so many areas in IT, so try and find your own niche. Don’t forget you can reach out to ambassador teams for help; we’ve been through it and can help put you onto the right people. Overall the situation for girls is definitely getting better – when I attend events there’s a real hunger for attracting more women into IT because they bring such a different skillset. Just find your own way.