Saiqa is the Quality Coordinator at Middlesbrough College and is also the BAME Staff Network Co-Chair and a Staff Ambassador.
Saiqa’s role is to ensure that the College is adhering to its Quality Management System and ensuring it is Ofsted Ready.
As part of her role Saiqa conduct audits, assists with external audits, reviews, updates and assesses quality processes and procedures. Saiqa also conducts regular student focus groups to ensure that she can hear what improvements need to be made.
Saiqa said “I started off my career not really knowing what I wanted to do. In all honesty, my secondary education was not very successful. I started off really well but as I approached Year 11 the majority of my friends were being set up for arranged marriages after their GCSE’s and it was not something I wanted. I couldn’t find anyone who I could relate to as my whole social group was with young Muslim women and at that time, none of them were interested in further education.
“So I spiralled out of control, I skipped school, I refused to go to school as I thought my life would be over after my GCSE’s. Actually – it became the opposite.
“I got a job as an Admin Apprentice and then applied for a role as an Admin Assistant for White Young Green, which was the company that was decommissioning and decontaminating the Middlehaven site where the College is now built. I was there when the new dock gates were lowered! I really enjoyed working and being independent so before my contract ended I applied for a role at a large, multi-national utility firm. I was successful in my role as a Procurement Assistant and worked there for 12 years.
“Once I started to work and interacted with other communities and people different from me I realised that my world didn’t have to be so closed. So I completed my A Levels on an evening and was encouraged to go to University, which I did in my late 20’s.
“This company paid for all my education and qualifications and allowed me to travel internationally and nationally for my role. After 12 years in a range of different roles, I decided it was time to move and was head-hunted by an International Bank. In this role I travelled internationally to help set up quality systems in call centres based abroad.
“I then met my husband and decided that I wanted to work locally in my hometown so I applied for the job at Middlesbrough College and here I am! Having a good understanding of how business works and thinking strategically helped me carve a role in Quality Management.
“I love working at Middlesbrough College and I’m really glad I chose to work here. The role comes with it’s challenges and it is important to be objective and to listen to different points of views before making a decision.
“If I had to name one thing that I’m the most proud of achieving since being at Middlesbrough College, it would have to be the student focus groups that I established. In fact, I would have to say that it is the most enjoyable part of my role. I think it’s really important to allow students a way in which they can express any positives or areas for improvement and in an environment in which they feel they can be open and honest. Some of the most inspiring actions have come from our students and I’m proud that they have a platform to do that.
“I’m really well supported here and I also enjoy coming to work. I also enjoy supporting others in my role as BAME Staff Network Co-Chair and Staff Ambassador, it’s fantastic to work with the wider College community as well as my immediate team.
“Co-chairing the BAME Staff Network has been a fantastic personal achievement. I really struggled in my teens because I couldn’t see any successful BAME women who I could aspire to be like apart from Meera Syal as she inspired my love for reading. That’s why I am so passionate about inclusivity and ensuring all our students know the options available to them. Looking back, I wished someone realised what was happening to me, then maybe my educational experience would have been different. However, it’s made me who I am and I don’t think I would change it.
“The College community is brilliant as everyone is respectful of each other and we always make sure everyone is heard and represented. I think this is why I get along so well with my colleagues.
“We are looking for staff to become involved in the BAME Staff Network and also Staff Ambassadors. If you are passionate, want to make changes and are committed to helping the college move forward then becoming a staff ambassador is the role for you! The Staff Network is about BAME staff coming together to discuss how we can further help the college mould and improve policies, procedures and experiences for BAME staff. If you’re interested at all, please get in touch with me!”