My first weeks at Cambridge Network

Joining Cambridge Network has felt like the start of a new adventure. As a Cambridge local I’ve been aware of the organisation. My first interaction with it was through a graduate jobs fair in London and I’ve regularly check out the Recruitment Gateway in times of career doubt since then.

For the past few years I’ve been working for a giant online reservations company as part of a team of thousands. By contrast about 14 dedicated people make Cambridge Network a reality, many of whom work part time. The website alone is packed full of information, showcasing news and information about our members.

During my first week I went along to our local devolution and Europe discussion. In the beautifully historic surroundings of the Cambridge Union Society questions of local and continental identity and political implications were discussed with insight and enthusiasm. By contrast, the next event was a small breakfast introduction to mindfulness training (which I also blogged about here). The range of events are fantastically diverse, from grand scale to intimate networking opportunities focused on key themes. I’m currently organising my first one, a mini workshop on “Making the business case for Training” during Learning at work week in May.

Despite their visibility the events are only a small part of what goes on here. The Cambridge Network prides itself on the work it does for its members and this comes in a surprising number of forms.

As part of the Learning Collaboration I’m working with most closely with Ali Wilson and Sarah Gleadell. My role in the team is to meet with members to connect them to learning opportunities that they wouldn’t be able to access alone. This could be one person from a small start-up joining a digital marketing course right up to development needs analysis and custom designed multi-module in house training program spread over several months. The variety of courses that we can help members find, and which they request, is part of the fun. I love knowing that I can make a difference in this way, sourcing learning opportunities that help individuals within an organisation succeed and grow.

I’ve also been working closely with Claire Angus from the Recruitment Gateway to get out and meet as many members as possible. Her recent focus was setting up the first ever Cambridge Network Jobs Fair, which was a great success. On top of this she has been introducing me to some great people and saving me from getting too badly lost as I travel the business parks of the region.

At the end of my first month here I know more than ever that Cambridge is a community of very intelligent, creative and encouraging people. My new home with the Cambridge Network is an inspiring one. Despite the demands on their time everyone here has made me feel incredibly welcome. I would encourage anyone who wants to know more about Cambridge to get in touch or join one of our events just so they can experience this for themselves.

Written by Julia Wix

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