A day in the life of...
Lisa - Operations
My team of 18 is divided across the whole of Operations, so everyone’s got different specific responsibilities. I’m a task team leader and manage two administrators. We’re all really close and make a point of regularly having lunch together, which is important to maintain team cohesion – and it's also a nice break when the work gets really intense. There are such a diverse number of roles at Cambridge Assessment, and everyone works really hard because when you work for the world’s largest examination body, there’s a lot to do! The company rewards and listens to you; it feels like you have much more autonomy than in other companies. You’re encouraged to suggest new ideas and make changes, and that can be really gratifying. It’s also made clear that there’s space for career progression within the company if you have the right skills and mind-set, which is probably why most of our temps end up applying for permanent roles! It’s a very supportive company and encourages you to push yourself towards a fruitful career, rather than just stick with a job. We’re right in the heart of Cambridge, which is such a lovely setting – and it's great to be part of the wider University community.
Lenka - Operations
I started at Cambridge Assessment three years ago as an administrator, worked my way up to a team leader, and have now been a coordinator in Exam Processing for six months. I oversee the processing of exam marks, the candidate database, and also have to make sure the results are sent out on time. There’s a lot of quality control, but it’s absolutely necessary because an exam result can change a student’s life, and when you consider that we’ve got thousands of students around the world, it makes you feel part of something really quite special. Dealing with the international enquiries is always a reminder of how far-reaching and revered Cambridge Assessment is, and makes your job feel very worthwhile.
There’s a real atmosphere of trust within the company: you’re given ownership of a task or scheme, and you’re entrusted to achieve a result. Refreshingly, there’s no micro managing: you’re just expected to get on with it and make it a success, but there’s always support if you need it. The social atmosphere of the company is great, and I can thank the company for my new addiction to rowing, which started through a work social club!
Peter - Operations
Even though I’m currently in my 10th year at Cambridge Assessment, having started here as a temp counting question papers by hand in the distribution department, I’m still a relative newcomer compared to some: one of my colleagues has been here 40 years! I really enjoyed temping with the company so I moved to a full-time position in warehouse distribution, then to customer services, and have now worked up to the Operations Support Team. Each move and promotion has rewarded my hard work, which is a great feeling. In Operations, we’re responsible for the creation and distribution of exam papers as well as processing results. As the Support Team, we get deployed to the busiest departments to help them out during peak times. This means that the role regularly changes and evolves, which not only keeps it exciting but also means you're always learning and transferring your skills to new situations.
Because of the ‘hit the ground running’ element of my job, it certainly helps to have a broad knowledge across the company, and to be good with office software and internal systems. The nice thing about being deployed around the departments is that you get to work with lots of different people who all have a common goal: to attain the high standards that befit Cambridge Assessment's worldwide reputation. Working in Cambridge is great; I'm really in to cycling and we regularly have organised bike rides at the weekends.
Jaoo - Duxford Warehouse
I started on a flexible contract in the distributions warehouse in 2012, and have been permanent since early 2015. We’re responsible for collating the exam papers and sending them out all over the world. This is a lot of responsibility, as there are a huge number of subjects. We ship the papers from Cambridge to over 170 countries, and we have to be absolutely sure that the right places get the right papers. We’re at our busiest from March, which is when the summer session starts, and we go into three shifts to make sure we get the job done. The work is challenging as the timescales are really tight, but you’re well looked after. It’s a great place to work, and most people are able to either get the bus, use the Park and Ride, or cycle into work - Cambridge is very cycle friendly, which is a relief from commuting!
Matthew - Duxford Office
I’m on a temporary contract in the ‘booking in team’. We receive students' completed exam papers, log them into our database and then prepare the papers to be sent to different marking teams within the company and also externally. I’m based in Cambridge Assessment’s office located near Duxford, which is enormous as it contains over 200 people actually marking the exam papers by hand, so there’s a lot going on under one roof!
Even though we all work very hard in the work is seasonal and flexible, which really suits me. You get a variety of ages working there, from young to semi-retired, because it fits with their lifestyles. It’s nice to have a mix of ages, too, and everyone is really friendly. The job suits me down to the ground.