Athena Swan in SHW
Professional services staff career journeys
Former SHW colleague Louise Manson looks back over a range of posts within our school, the skills, experience and knowledge gained, and how these helped to prepare her for a significant change of direction in her working life.
I've been invited to look back and share my journey progressing through the university grades as a professional services staff member, which began just over 15 years ago within Institute of Health and Wellbeing (IHW). While it has had its share of challenges, my progress has resulted from a combination of being fortunate to spot areas where I could put myself forward to develop specialised skills, and building upon interests out with of work.
I began my role in IHW in December 2006 as a full time grade 4 clinical practice secretary. I thoroughly enjoyed working in Mental Health and Wellbeing supporting the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programme. The role was challenging but rewarding where the opportunities to develop stemmed mostly from the off-campus location and the intricate clinical nature of the programme. I gained valuable experience of university and NHS systems, and in setting up and troubleshooting online teaching and events. Supporting trainees during the life of their studies, from application stages to attending graduation was an amazing process to be part of.
Over time, the role changed and I felt I was operating at a grade above the original responsibilities. I applied for regrading but was sadly unsuccessful in both the application and appeal. This encouraged me to look at other opportunities within the university.
In 2017, I applied for a promoted post and was successful, with the newly formed Transforming Research Management team, within MVLS. I became a grade 5 research support administrator, aligned to IHW. As a new service, it involved adapting to a lot of change and developing new ways of working. I gained vital project management experience and enjoyed working with many of the research staff across IHW. As a result of my role in the team, I was delighted to be awarded a Professional Services Team award in 2021, for services to IHW. But again I found myself at the point where I was stepping up and working beyond the responsibilities of the original role, with no opportunity to progress within this area.
Unexpectedly an opportunity to work in an innovation-focused role surfaced, and I successfully applied for this promoted post, to now work as a Grade 6 Learning Innovation Advisor. As difficult as it was to leave supporting IHW, it was an opportunity to work with staff and services across the university, to increase digital literacy skills, provide upskilling approaches and support online and blended courses. I am glad I pushed myself in a lot of areas (some out of my comfort zone).
As of August 2022, I’ve been in my new post for just over 6 months and loving the involvement in the different activities the team are working on. I am always grateful when I’ve heard back from colleagues, particularly if they have felt I’ve helped them overcome any training or confidence issues, when using technologies. Being inclusive and building confidence is important to me and I look forward to working with IHW once again in my new role.
Learning Innovation Adviser
UofG Learning and Innovation Support Unit