Sharon Jones

As the first engineer in Barclays Eagle Labs, I am part of a growing network of incubators and maker spaces supporting business growth and demystifying the fourth industrial revolution.

Every day is different; from supporting a start-up business with building a minimum viable product through to leading workshops introducing emerging technology to senior leaders. After 19 years in primary education, in a range of roles from classteacher through to Head leading a school from underperforming to improved, I was ready for new challenges and to regain my own enthusiasm for learning.

I joined Barclays on a temporary contract. I was immediately taken with the opportunities to learn new things and the digital culture across the global business. Moving into a permanent subject matter expert role, I was able to influence improving processes and became involved in facilitating training for colleagues. Alongside my day job in customer services I became a volunteer Digital Eagle and took my first steps in learning to code, building my first app 9 months later, which was used by 1600 colleagues. This involvement led to a secondment to Strategic Transformation, a small team committed to changing the face of Personal and Corporate Banking. I was responsible for leveraging connections in the community to raise awareness of Eagle Labs, and providing a programme of events to engage potential clients.

The labs network has flourished from the two launched in December 2015 to twenty-five sites. Following basic maker training in Fab Lab London, I have grown into a lab engineer; confident in facilitating and supporting individuals and businesses in product development and rapid prototyping. With a commitment to digital empowerment I host maker and innovation workshops with local schools, colleges and youth groups, aiming to inspire our next generation of engineers. The labs offering is constantly evolving and I am relishing the opportunity to influence this. As an established member of the team I am able to offer my expertise to newer sites, sharing best practise and engineering solutions to create everything our clients can imagine.