Click on a job title to find out more about the people in the following roles:
I joined NFER in October 2015 as an Applications Developer. I’m responsible for the design, (re)development and testing of many key applications and websites as well as providing ongoing maintenance and technical support. I work in a continually evolving environment, due to constant technological advances, and therefore need to maintain and improve software systems to meet user needs as well as make recommendations for future (re)development. I thoroughly enjoy what I do; I am constantly presented with new challenges, able to learn on the job and acquire new skills, as well as use my artistic flair when designing new systems.
Following a degree in Computer Science, I started my career as a Quality Assurance (QA) Tester and Technical Support almost 15 years ago, before moving into a Software Development role for a company that specialised in an Electronic Documents and Records Management System. I’ve worked on a range of projects that have involved developing specialist tools to integrate with third-party software, including SharePoint and Microsoft Office; migrating legacy code to the latest technologies; converting flat file systems to a SQL Server database; creating virtual environments for compatibility testing and debugging/troubleshooting purposes; as well as writing technical specifications, user manuals and test scripts – to name a few.
Before joining NFER, I had been working from home for almost eight years, which gave me the opportunity to raise my children as well as work full-time, (even though at times it was very challenging with the pressure and stress of work). I wanted to maintain a good work-life balance and fortunately NFER offers flexible working, which has helped me to continue to spend quality time with my family as well as enjoy the work I do.
I work with an amazing team and a wonderful manager in a supportive work environment. Although we are a small applications development team, we get along very well and most importantly, we know how to have fun! During lunch, you can often find us getting competitive playing table tennis with colleagues from other departments. It’s a great way to get to know people in the Foundation I wouldn’t ordinarily get a chance to meet.
When I’m not at work, I enjoy going to the cinema and bowling. When my kids won’t allow me to be a coach potato, I spend time playing basketball, cricket, badminton and various other games with them in the garden.
I joined NFER in May 2016, having previously trained as a chartered accountant with EY and working in roles as an auditor and in financial reporting, for companies and charities, including Shire Pharma in Basingstoke. At NFER, my work covers the annual statutory accounts, VAT, internal financial controls, funds management and the relationship with the external auditors. I enjoy the wide variety of topics. The VAT reporting is interesting, because not-for-profit organisations like NFER with different income streams, have far more challenging reporting requirements than conventional companies do. No two days are the same!
To be good at my role you need to be numerate, articulate, logical and a good communicator both in person and on paper. Our work often involves unscrambling financial trails with several people involved and then explaining financial issues to non-financial colleagues. A sense of humour, and of proportion, do not go amiss either.
The best part of working at NFER is the people and the pride from witnessing the work undertaken by the company. Within Finance, we need a team that blends well with different types of experience and qualifications across payroll, financial software, cash management, management reporting and financial reporting. All companies need a Finance team but every company is different and the rewarding part is understanding the needs of each business. If the company financial records are kept on track and in-line with reporting requirements, this enables the income earning staff to concentrate on their specialities.
In my spare time I enjoy music, films and theatre, and at school I was good at Maths, English, and Science. I wanted to be a vet, so concentrated on Science, going on to do a degree in that subject, only to find that I am allergic to almost every type of fur on the planet!
I joined NFER in 2003 as a Project Coordinator in the Research Department. I then moved into HR in 2011 and took on the role of HR Coordinator. There is no typical day in my role; it’s very dependent on what’s in my email inboxes when I arrive in the morning. My role has grown and changed and I am now involved in more learning and development projects including the designing and uploading of eLearning modules.
I work within the friendly and helpful HR team. Everyone is very supportive when it comes to dealing with workloads. My manager is very understanding, especially in helping me get my work-life balance right.
To be good at my role you need to be flexible and adaptive. I really enjoy the variety of things I have the opportunity to do. There will always be the mundane routine jobs, but when the exciting projects come along I love the challenge!
The best way to describe what it’s like to work at NFER is that it’s a friendly place where the people you work with become your extended family. Especially true when you have been here as long as I have. I'm proud to work at NFER because I feel it does make a difference to learners. I have seen my own children sit the exam papers we develop and know they have benefited from the assessments.
When I’m not working I spend my time having fun with my Star Wars family as a member of Joker Squad Star Wars UK. We have the motto ‘Charity, fun and Star Wars’. We raise money for local charities and we have members all over the country. My biggest highlight was meeting Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) at Star Wars Celebration in London in 2016.
I joined NFER in 2007 as part of the Facilities team covering both reception and the Facilities office. Over time my role has developed to working full-time on reception and as the main receptionist I am often the first point of contact for staff and visitors.
My role covers the usual reception-type activities; answering the switchboard, greeting visitors, taxi bookings, arranging lunches, updating staff directories, raising purchase orders, staff passes and pretty much everything that keeps the front office running. I also look after the reception duties for the Bentley Education Centre, which is a small centre that is often used by Slough Borough Council and local charities. My favourite part of the job is meeting the many varied visitors to NFER; from Trustees to regular contractors, I enjoy a quick chat with them all.
To be good at my role you need to be organised and adaptable as there is always plenty to do. I pride myself on knowing the answer to most reception-related things and if I don’t know, I can usually point staff in the right direction.
I do enjoy the variety within my work and I’ve enjoyed being part of the wider team also, recently helping at Marking Events in Wales for the Welsh Government. I absolutely loved the beautiful countryside and travelling to the various events throughout Wales. It's hard work too, though, leaving the hotel at 7am to set up the events and being there to support the teachers until the last one leaves late into the evening.
I started my working life as an apprentice secretary for a pharmaceutical company and progressed to PA to the Sales and Marketing Director. Before starting at NFER I was working as an administrator for BMW in Florida for six years, which was an interesting challenge learning to spell the 'American' way and living in a tropical climate. It made me realise that there’s no place like home, and surprisingly I missed the seasons in the UK.
I always wanted to be a Social Worker before leaving school but was told by so many not to do it. After doing a variety of volunteer work throughout the years, I think I probably made the right decision.
In my spare time I enjoy walking, cycling, yoga at NFER on Thursdays, and I've recently started Zumba which is fun.
The National Foundation for Educational Research in England and Wales. Head office and registered address: The Mere, Upton Park, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 2DQ
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