Meet the ServiceNow NextGen participants: Waled Bajukhaif


Waled Bajukhaif

The ServiceNow NextGen Programme was designed for one reason: to help underrepresented groups secure meaningful employment in the tech industry.

It’s all about extending access to people who might not otherwise get the chance, and preparing them with the necessary skills to forge long, successful careers.

To do this, the programme works with a number of candidates and organisations, including the Refugee Council, which aims to support refugees into employment and help them to overcome any barriers they may face when building a life in the UK.

To showcase exactly how initiatives like the NextGen programme impact the people they’re designed to help, we sat down with Waled Bajukhaif, Managing Development Service Consultant at UP3 and NextGen graduate. We spoke to him about his experience with the programme, which he accessed via the Refugee Council, as well as where it’s led him since, and what words of wisdom he’d pass on to other potential candidates.

First things first, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name’s Waled Bajukhaif, I’m originally from Yemen, and spent time living in Saudi Arabia before arriving in the UK in September of 2018 on a student visa. 

What was your experience/background before joining the NextGen programme?  

I received a Masters in computer science, but – unfortunately – graduated during the Covid-19 pandemic. As you can imagine, not many companies in the technology sector were hiring at that point.

After looking for employment for a while, I took a role in a warehouse – which was fine, but, having a computer science background, ideally I wanted to get into that industry. Luckily, that’s what the NextGen programme helped me do.

What drove you to apply for the NextGen programme?

It was actually a friend who recommended the Refugee Council to me. They’re doing amazing work, and it was through them I was able to discover a bit more about ServiceNow, and the NextGen programme itself.

What was your experience of the course itself?

The programme is a two-month-long, intensive course. We study five days a week, nine to five most days.

One thing that struck me early on was how much the course promotes teamwork. As a class, we were always sharing our ideas and opinions, and it felt like a safe space to learn. 

What’s especially great about it is that there’s a nice balance of theory work and practical experience. Throughout the course, I was able to learn skills like automation, mobile application design, and how to build a functioning service portal. The practical element really makes a difference, because it means we head into the ‘real’ world of work prepared with actual experience, as opposed to just knowledge.

By the end of the course we actually developed a project and presented it to companies from the industry, one of which is the one I’m working for now: soon after graduating from the NextGen programme, I received an offer from UP3, and started working there the following January. 

It’s a testament to exactly how much the NextGen programme works to provide routes into the technology industry that not only I, but every single member of my NextGen cohort received a relevant job offer within two weeks of finishing the course.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time, and has the NextGen programme helped you get there?  

The NextGen programme has absolutely helped me in my career so far. Right now, I’m a Managing Development Service Consultant working with clients such as Avanti West Coast, but I’m also currently preparing for the ServiceNow administrator exam, which is a developer certification.

Ideally, in a few year’s time I’ll be a fully fledged developer with the support of my employer. I’m really excited to continue my career with UP3, and I’d definitely say that the NextGen programme was a great step-up on the way here. 

Do you have any advice for others considering applying for the NextGen programme?  

I’m so thrilled to have completed the programme, and I’d recommend it to anyone, whether you’re coming from an IT background or otherwise.

In fact, I have recommended it to plenty of people so far, and I’m proud to say that one of my friends will be graduating in the next cohort.

So, my advice is simply — do it.

For more information on the NextGen Programme, and how you – or someone you know – could take part, email Nextgen@servicenow.com.

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