5 minutes with: Lara Mellor
In a new series of interviews, we spend 5 minutes with inspirational, hard-working women from across the North East. This week, we chatted to Lara Mellor about her love of STEM and her career in IT...
By Helen Bowman
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’ve run Lara Mellor Training and Consultancy for 20 years now and became a limited company in 2019. I was brought up in Hampshire and always loved the sea. My favourite subjects at school were the sciences and maths and I ended up studying A levels in Maths, Physics and Chemistry with Biology at AS level.
My degree was joint, in Chemistry and Maths at the University of East Anglia in Norwich and sealed my love of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). At the time I saw myself as a mad scientist and was hoping to follow a career in scientific research, but roles in that line were incredibly difficult to come by. My friends used to tell me how patient and good at explaining things I was, so I decided to study for a PGCE in maths and became a secondary school maths teacher.
When IT was integrated into specific curriculum areas and Excel was made the focus of the maths department, I was chosen as the lead in our school. I loved running those lessons and, five years after becoming a teacher, I moved into teaching adults instead. Initially, I was a training provider, but I set out on my own as Lara Mellor Training and Consultancy in 2000.
I made the move up north in 2016 and now live in Warkworth with my husband and two dogs. The move was tough on my business as all my clients were in and around West London, but I’ve settled up here now and have a great client base in the area.
How do you help your clients to become more proficient in Microsoft?
Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown I provided face-to-face training at the sites of my clients who are situated all over the North East. Coronavirus may have called a temporary halt to in-person training, but I’ve taken all my courses online and have changed my delivery style to suit online training.
I specialise in Microsoft training, helping adult learners further their skills within the Microsoft suite of software. I help my clients become more proficient, confident and productive in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Office 365 and all other Microsoft programmes.
Tell us about your involvement in promoting STEM careers?
I have been a STEM ambassador for over a year now helping promote science, technology, engineering, and maths in schools. It has given me the opportunity to give something back to the community and revisit my teaching and scientific roots.
Last year I was involved with the Bring It On event at the Beacon of Light. Many top engineering companies got together in a two-day event to show school children what a career in engineering could look like. I was there to support the children and teachers as well as the companies exhibiting. It was such a buzz seeing the kids being inspired by some of the experiments they could get involved with and hopefully some of these will become our engineers of the future. I was hoping to be involved with some of the mock interviews for year 10 students this year but that has not been possible because of the lockdown restrictions.