I think I mentioned a while ago that I was planning to retire at the end of March and here it is. Already!
On 17 March I attended my last Planning Meeting with Jisc infoNet and the team gathered at the Castle Green hotel in Kendal for the event, which included a bit of a marathon presentation to me...
The above image is the cover of a little booklet containing photos and messages from colleagues not only from infoNet but from lots of colleagues at partner services which was really nice and quite humbling. I'm glad I didn't read it on the spot - I'd have been going all emotional!
On Wednesday this week I went over to Newcastle to hand in my work phone etc and had a last lunch with the team, this time without Steve, but with Kath who hadn't been able to get over to Kendal. Then a sad farewell and I drove home, slightly thankful for the heavy sleet which made me concentrate on the driving.
My career started as a self-employed photographer with a list of publications in magazines such as "She", "Weekend", "The National Enquirer" and many more, followed by a spell in a family owned department store that I think the TV programme Are You Being Served was based on... I started working in Education in 1984 before moving to Further Education at Fleetwood Nautical College in 1985, Blackpool College, Preston College, Myerscough College and finally joining Jisc infoNet and the University of Northumbria in 2003.
At Preston College from the early 1990s I started to get involved at a national level, helping start and run the National CMIS Board, The National Information and Learning Technologies Association (NILTA) for which I was a Director, Deputy CIS Operations Committee Chair and North West Representative, and as a member of one or two working groups for the Further Education Funding Council. In 1999 I was awarded a national award for "outstanding contribution to the development of College Information Systems in Further Education in the UK".
In 2002 I was involved for Myerscough College in a joint bid to run a new JISC service covering information systems in both Further and Higher Education. This would be hosted by the University of Northumbria and was provisionally to be called SysInfoNet. The consortium won the bidding process and the new service, now named JISC infoNet, came into being and I joined them as a full time employee. Before long I found myself teaching university and college managers things like Project Management, Change Management, Process Review, Strategy, Risk Management and more.
I've had the opportunity to lead workshops in universities across the UK, including Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Belfast, Cardiff, Swansea, Royal Holloway, LSE, Lincoln, Brighton, Manchester, Newcastle and a host of others and at Further Education Colleges in most counties as well as speaking at conferences both in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
As news of my pending retirement became known I've been amazed at messages referring to work I'd almost forgotten. Thank you all. It has been wonderful working with such dedicated colleagues over the years. I'll still be doing the odd workshop for a bit, but I know that even though there are all sorts of plans for new directions, books, gigs with the band, etc - I am going to miss you all!