IT Consultant and Business Founder 

Nicola has been with us since 2016 and has connected with many young people during this time where shared her passion for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and insights from a diverse technology career working across private business, government and non-profit sectors. 

We spoke to Nicola about how volunteering has enabled her to be the cheerleader she wishes she’d had as a young person and how connecting with young people virtually has enabled her to offer support around her busy schedule. 

Why did you get involved? 

I remember how painful it was for me as a young person to feel that some adults didn’t believe in my ability or my dreams.  

When I was 13 years old, I decided I wanted to be an engineer and design racing cars. Sadly, when I was 16 years old, the careers advisor told me “People like you aren’t engineers!” and she tried to discourage my aspirations. However, I refused to listen to her and instead listened to those who supported my dreams. I gained my degree and achieved my dream of becoming an engineer at 22 years old.  

This experience has motivated me to support others. I feel privileged to be able to give these young people the encouraging messages I wish I could have heard at that age. 

What activities have you taken part in? 

I began volunteering in April 2016. Previously, I had given a STEM presentation to Year 4 at my daughter’s primary school. I loved doing this so much that I wanted to do more and tell more children about how amazing STEM subjects are and that’s when I found Inspiring the Future.  

Since signing up, I’ve taken part in virtual and in-person activities with many young people including career chats, mock interviews and mentoring which have all been a pleasure to attend. 

Why would you encourage others to volunteer? 

Young people today face so many challenges and as adults I think we owe it to them to give back by supporting them and share the benefit of our experience. It has been a fantastic way for me to support young people around my busy schedule, particularly volunteering virtually, which has enabled me to participate in many more activities than I could have attended in person.  

Volunteering has also improved my confidence in presenting virtually, which has helped me with my own business – holding the attention of a young audience is a fantastic way to learn! 

A huge thank you to Nicola for sharing her experience of being an Inspiring the Future volunteer!