Leaving after 16 years

Its my last week at Havant & South Downs College – Further Education and Higher Education, UK.

My background before starting this position, I am originally from Sheffield, UK  I was studying at Sheffield Hallam University whilst living at home, and gained a Batchelor of Science with Honours in Computer and Network Engineering, after meeting over a chat room on the internet I moved South. Over the summer periods whilst at University, I worked in the Co-op in East Wittering’s.

One day I was filling up the Cereal isle, and putting up each box of cereal got harder and harder, I then said I want to get back into what I love IT! and not stacking shelves. Then came along a job advert for South Downs College, and continually noticed the advert on the side of the 700 bus that used to stop at the local bus stop, There is where I want to be!

August 2002

Fresh faced 22 year graduate, started a learning platform for the next generation, that was my project, that Peter Mudd gave me all those years ago with Dick Cady as some of you will remember which started with Blackboard, then I worked closely with Martine with Moodle, whilst it wasn’t my only project, I also took care of the network and being part of the IT Support Team.

Whilst being at the College I have been a 1st line technician, 2nd Line technician, Deputy to Head of IT, IT Team Leader, Relinquish my role of IT Team Leader for Merger, and IT Development Team Leader.   Working over the years on VLE’s, Email Management, Network Management, Printers, Tills, Office 365, Several Network Migrations with RM and One Merger.

I will never forget the time, I had to come into work at 4am, on Snow day, as the server room had a power failure/air con failure.

Snow Day

The ice on the road was glistening, when I arrived, a member of the facilities team was a little disgruntled as he forgot about the fire curtain that comes down automatically when there is a power cut.  Though at the time there wasn’t an emergency button.   So he had to pull up the fire curtain to get out (yes its not suppose to), Though this is a lot better than Toxic Gas!

He was in a little bit of a state and cold, so I brought over some tea and a KitKat !

The College then had a radical change, we saw colleagues leaving and new ones joining, our Head of IT – Peter at the time also left the college, we had to manage the best as we could, as also then my technical manager left, leaving me with the technical management duties.

In the changes to the college, I also remember a time we all pulled together to do teamwork, when replacing the college network, some were reluctant to do the work, but eventually got on with the work in hand with a little enticement of bacon butties and cakes though; some didn’t agree to this either.

Times are hard

Times then got harder for me, when my wife was diagnosed with cancer and we had a 1 1/2 year old which happened very quickly over Christmas 2013 , I can remember going back into work in January 2014, just nearly fell to the ground but burst into tears.   I was dedicated in my work, how could I carry on!

The College have been very helpful and let me go off sick until times got easier, though it did get easier but I had my son to look after. I have no family down south they are all up north so found it also increasingly difficult.

Though I got back to work, and had mentoring sessions with Becky where I wasn’t really here nor there, but she helped me carry on with work.

Team Leader

Being a Team Leader – Leading a Team that you are already apart of was a difficult one, as a Team Leader I had to solely delegate and care about the team, but also do my job at the same time.   I really do miss the technical side, it was a difficult decision to make becoming a Team Leader.

David then took over as the Head of IT with the impending Merger, though some didn’t like another new boss, In my eyes, David was a breath of fresh air, and has taken on the college network and replaced all the PC’s which some were 7 years overdue!   He knows customer expectations very well and drills it into me everyday, though I leave the college network in capable hands but this is only 20% the 80% is about You.

The Journey 

In the leadership journey I have taken over the past year with Anna, John and Julia it has really given me a sense of being whilst also developing a growth mindset.  Something I have learnt over the year without actually realising it I already had these traits but some extra came out…..YOU matter, YOU are the only one who can change things, MAKE it happen, talk to your boss, colleagues, communicate with some human, whatever it takes to achieve where you want to be.

Learning is an important process, pickup that book, search the internet, cut out distractions and focus, take time to learn, make time to learn, develop a growth mindset, NO your not too old to do things, get out of that comfort zone!

Students are part of our future, they will fill jobs that don’t exist today, Coding skills, Cyber Security, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence all need a unique skillset.

In just a small space of time, I took the decision to take a new job offer over the Christmas period, and whilst being heavily consumed with a new baby boy.

The Journey Continues….

I am heading to pastures new – to help with cloud adoption , digital transformation, in start up’s, small and medium businesses and big enterprises.

 

Finally, I will miss everyone at the college, and I thank everyone of you who I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with over the years.
Simon

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