Ann Pickering

Ann Pickering

Former HR Director, O2 UK

I began my career at Marks & Spencer on their HR graduate programme after completing a degree in English at the University of London. I joined O2 in March 2004 after working in a number of different industries. Prior to taking on my current role of HR Director, I was responsible for Human Resources across four UK Call Centre sites and 300 stores, totalling approximately 8,500 people.

As a Board member at one of the UK’s biggest tech companies it is fantastic to see that that technology is no longer equated with ‘geek’. Rather, it refers to a new world of exciting opportunities, especially for young people. Young people have a key role to play in the evolution of our digital economy. As the first generation to have grown up with the internet, they possess the native digital talent that others simply don’t.

At O2 we believe in young people and we have focused our efforts on working in partnership with the education sector and youth organisations to create programmes that allow young people to apply academic concepts of STEM in real-world work environments.

We offer a variety of paid apprenticeship, graduate and internships across the business, creating jobs and digital learning opportunities for thousands of young people. Through our Think Big programme we work with young people of all ages to teach them the importance of digital skills – be that teaching young people in schools how to code through Think Big Tech Stars; or by offering young people the opportunity to gain work experience in major brands through GoThinkBig; or through our grass roots social action programme.

Tomorrow’s economic growth depends on the UK having a workforce that can exploit new technologies and discoveries. As an employer of thousands of under-25s, at O2 we’re already seeing the genuine value that young people bring to the organisation every day, and we know that it’s these digitally savvy young employees who will continue to form the future of our business.