10 August 2023 - SSG23 blog2

During my maternity leave with my second child, I decided it was time for a change from my job in construction and to ‘reboot’ my own career by joining a High Education IT Department. Upon hearing that my manager had put me forward for the Plus One Bursary Scheme for this year’s conference, I was nervous to attend as not only am I in a new job but also in a complete career change having never worked in IT before however ‘Reboot, Refocus, Recharge: Redefining the world of Support Services’ sounded like the perfect first UCISA conference to attend.

I felt my knowledge may have limited to be able to understand the conference and get the full experience. How wrong I was… Attending the SSG23: Reboot, Refocus, Recharge: Redefining the world of Support Service conference, I was instantly put at ease in the Newcomers Session. I was able to get more understanding of what to expect over the 2 days and was able to speak to a range of different people who were all attending for the first time. During this first session, I was also able to speak with someone who had also once been brand new to the world of IT and knew how I felt.

A part of the work that the team I am in, is to look at transformational change within support using ServiceNow. Being able to listen and speak to other Universities around the country and what they have done within their own department was interesting, I was able to bounce ideas back and forth on how we did similar projects that they may now be trying to achieve, or picking their brains on changes or any issues that they came up against on projects that they have done. It was also great to see how far we had come as a department and as a small team. We have many plates spinning, and we are always looking forward to the next project that it was great step back to reflect and see what we had achieved. One of the main takeaways I personally took away was from the apprenticeship session, it was very informative as I didn’t know this was an option. I have now personally investigated what my institution could offer in terms of apprenticeships to allow me to develop my skills and progress within my career within the Higher Education Sector.

For anyone attending an SSG Conference for the first time my advice would be to get involved as much as you can, ask lots of questions and enjoy! Everything from the speakers, exhibitors and the people who attended were so helpful, full of knowledge and keen to get the most from the conference. Being new to IT, I sometimes hold back questions, but the sessions had so much information that answered a lot of them and have giving me so much food for thought for upcoming projects, I was also made to feel very comfortable to be able to ask any questions that I did have.

Charlotte Roberts, Northumbria University