Technicians Should Be Networking

You rarely have a name ready when you start something new. Queen probably weren’t called Queen from day one. The startups at Apple probably didn’t come up with the name before they started working on building their own personal computer. I doubt that ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ was proposed as a name until someone actually said it having already made the spread. So today, I was glad we didn’t spend too long discussing a name for the first meeting of network technicians from FE and HE organisations in the south of the country.

Meeting up with some colleagues from nearby colleges is something I’ve been keen to happen for some time now and thanks to the efforts of Luke from Tauntons College, we finally met up today. Under the premise of a meeting for those of us maintaining a fleet of mac computers, I think something more significant may have occurred.

Taking the time to chat with some of the technicians present both during and after the event, it’s clear that there is a strong demand for such meetings. What was also evident is that opportunity to attend isn’t always given. In some cases, reference is made to commitments of work – in other words, a large job list (only as obstructive as you allow it to become, in my opinion). Others commented that in order to attend another, some idea of the return value would need to be conveyed in order to gain ‘permission’. Reasonable enough, I suppose, but you have to give these things a chance; let a new movement gain some momentum. New ideas will never emerge without some experimentation first.

Putting us all together in the same room it’s really obvious that so much of what we do, where our ambitions lie, and what challenges we face are so very similar. Too often we spend our time doing this alone – insular in our ideas without enough influence from outside sources, from those with more experience and those with a different perspective.

Time for a change. Time to recognise the value of networking for all roles.

I’m looking forward to another meeting of this small regional group of technical staff. If you are in central southern England, from an educational organisation and would like to get involved in a similar meet up, post a comment below or contact me via @chri5grant.

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