In April 2016, an exhibition Technicians Make It Happen in London aimed to dispel outdated notions of what it means to be a technician, highlight the diversity of technician roles in a range of industries and show how important technicians are to the success of organisations and the wider economy.
Ayrshire College ICT technicians, Helen Blakely and Dawn Rowe, make IT happen for our students and staff. They spoke to us about where their career in computing has taken them so far and what they do on a daily basis.
What do you actually do?
Helen – my job changes every day, there are always new things to learn, new problems to fix. It can be anything from as simple as changing passwords around the college, to working out complicated software installations.
Dawn – I think our job is unique, in that we help absolutely everyone in the college from students, to staff, to guest speakers who are only in the college for a day. It’s really nice as you get to know everyone as you’re involved with every department.
How has your career taken shape?
Helen – I’ve always had an interest in building, creating, and figuring out how things work. And, if they don’t work, finding out why and fixing the problem. I studied computing at the old Kilmarnock College initially, then went on to work for ICI. Sixteen years ago I got a job at the College as an ICT Technician and have never looked back.
Dawn – I worked as a stock controller at a time when computing was taking over a lot of the manual jobs. I was really interested in technology, so thought it was a good time to retrain. I studied at Ayrshire College, started with NC Computing. Once I finished HND Computing, I went on to the third year of a computing degree at UWS. I became an ICT Technician at Ayrshire College 2 years ago and I love it!
What advice would you give to other women and young girls interested in a career in computing?
Helen – I was the first and only female ICT Technician at the College for a long time. I have to say that I’ve never really felt that this is an issue as we have a great team. My advice would be, don’t let the boys put you off!
What challenges have you faced in your job and how have you overcome them?
Helen – There are always challenges in our job, which is what makes it so interesting. Technology changes so fast, you have to keep yourself up to date with the latest software and systems and that can be challenging when you’re so busy.
What’s great about our job, is that people are always happy to see you as they know you’re there to help with any technical difficulties. It’s good to solve issues with them.
Dawn – There are challenges. It’s important to have good communication skills as well as the technical skills in our job as you’re speaking to different people every day. That’s a great part about the job, and another reason why no two days are the same, as you get to meet everyone!
What are the highlights of your job?
Helen – There’s a lot of highlights about this job, but we’re particulatly looking forward to working on the new Kilmarnock Campus. It’s a new challenge!
We’ll be helping to set up all the new ICT equipment, working with the latest technology, making sure it all runs smoothly for the students artiving in September – so it’s something to look forward to. I am very excited about that.
RAISING ASPIRATIONS | INSPIRING ACHIEVEMENT | INCREASING OPPORTUNITIES