My Path to Progression: Sales to Learning & Development

04 April 2022

Through our Path to Progression blog series, we’re sharing colleague stories about how they have developed, changed and grown their career within NCC Group.

For our first interview, our Talent Attraction team spent time with Natasha Gardner to hear more about her journey so far and how she made the move from Inside Sales to Pre-Sales to now finding her home in Learning & Development.


What was your first role with NCC Group?

I joined NCC Group to start my journey in Cyber Security, and while I did not have a technical background, I wanted to build a career in this space and studied security at university.

In my first role as an Internal Account Manager, I supported the Assurance Sales Team for just under two years. Working with some very large commercial accounts and supporting individuals with high targets, I had the opportunity to work with several teams across the business and developed a comprehensive understanding of sales cycle operations.

Wanting more experience technically, and to broaden my NCC portfolio I then began my role as a Pre-Sales Engineer in which I acted as a technical support to our sales teams, working together to provide the best possible solution for the client business drivers.


What is your current role?

Currently I work as a Learning & Development Trainer where our team specialise in the development of our sales teams.

When it comes to the skills needed to be successful in Learning and Development, I know that both my prior sales and technical positions helped me to really understand what the needs are of the individuals we support, and the strategies to best employ moving forward to support the longevity of careers within the teams.

Personal and professional development are so important to us as individuals, even if sometimes we need someone to remind us of that. The thing I love the most about my team (aside from the people!) is the pride each person takes in working towards making things better, perhaps a general statement but it really resonates with me. Just because something is good, or works, does not necessarily mean it cannot be improved. The importance our team place on feedback and absorbing it to improve delivery for next time, improve content and improve scalability of learning is incredible.


What was your process of applying for an internal role?

For my first internal move, I initially asked my line manager and sales director then subsequently registered my interest for a secondment within a technical team, which I would highly recommend if you’re interested in a particular business area because ‘if you don’t ask you don’t always get’. I was supported throughout the whole process and am extremely grateful for that opportunity to move across, and to the pre-sales team for welcoming me and giving me the chance to learn at a pace I can only describe as Silverstone’s ‘Hangar Straight’. I learned more than I can describe with that team and use everything to date.

It’s so important joining a new team to make sure that you can add value, and for me personally I appreciate having a quality interview for a role. Albeit an internal move, but being given an opportunity to demonstrate skill and potential in the same way an external candidate would was brilliant. I would advise anyone who is considering an internal move to just go for it, the worst someone can say is ‘no’ or ‘not yet’. In that instance, make a plan and try again.


Where do you see yourself in the future at NCC Group?

In terms of opportunity, I think there is a huge amount of potential in my current role and team to work globally. I really admire my team and love the value that each of them places on development. I began each role I have undertaken with NCC Group at the junior level to fully invest myself and learn from the ground up exactly what does and does not work for the business, building credibility through experience.

If an opportunity is not immediately available or obvious, there is nothing stopping you as an individual creating your own opportunities and working on those goals. If anything, it may also inspire another colleague to do the same.

My final advice to anyone is to “Ask”. If you are interested in a position, go and ask more about it. Try and identify your long-term goal and what steps you’ll need to take to reach that goal, identify skill sets you already have and make them known to your leaders and team. You must have confidence in your own abilities to stand out. Ask to shadow different roles whenever possible and continue to network within the business as you never know what may spark your interest.


Thank you for taking the time to read Natasha’s story. We’re really excited to see what she will do next with us!