Andrew is our IT Strategy & Projects Manager (hero) here at Step One Charity, and he’s been with the organisation for an incredible 10 years!
Andrew started as a client of St Loye’s (Step One’s former name) back in 2012, when he was losing his eyesight and looked to them for support. The organisation provided him with incredible support and he was so grateful, that he decided to volunteer for them five days a week teaching IT skills. He was eventually hired as a full-time employee in 2013, and we are so lucky that he’s been here ever since! In this blog post, Andrew shares his journey with Step One Charity, his favourite things about working in IT and his motivations for continuing to work for the organisation after 10 years.
What attracted you to work for Step One Charity, and how has that initial attraction evolved over the past 10 years?
Initially it was the people, both the staff and the clients. The staff were so amazing when I was on the client side and to have the chance of being part of such a wonderful team and helping out others, it made sense. It’s still the same reward now mostly, making life better for others on a daily basis albeit more indirectly now. I feel that by making our systems better, our clients’ lives are improved.
What’s your favourite thing about working in IT?
There’s never nothing to do. There are so many parts to IT and even with our third party support, there’s plenty to keep me busy. The IT world is always changing, and new technologies and threats are emerging, so I am always learning new skills.
Can you share a memorable moment or achievement from your time with Step One that stands out to you?
There’s been loads! I met Ben Bradshaw MP once when he came on site, the Lord Mayor too! On a more personal level, there’s been many clients go on to achieve great things, some of who I helped directly. To see them running their own business or having a solid career sort of thing after my/our help is very warming.
How have you grown both personally and professionally during your time at Step One Charity?
I used to be described as shy and quiet, you’d never believe that if you know me now! Professionally I have gained so many new skills, qualifications as well as new friends and contacts. I have even started a Masters Degree, paid for by Step One, in the summer! Old me from 10 years ago would not recognise me today!
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
When things are broken, everyone is waiting on me to fix it. It sometimes feels like a lost cause and then that moment where the fix is found and everything is running again, all the calls and emails stop and there’s like 5-10 minutes of peace before the next task comes up! It’s like bliss!
Can you describe a project or initiative that you're particularly proud to have been a part of?
The ‘Time To..’ project with Devon County Council was lots of fun! It was around 2013-ish. We did courses and workshops on lots of different topics; I did some on digital photography and IT. They were really great as people could just drop in and attend without registration or pressure to attend. Seeing how people developed over that project was amazing. More recently I pushed forward the idea of pronouns in our signatures for inclusivity and was pleased to see that taken up.
What motivates you to continue working for Step One Charity after 10 years?
It’s the rewarding feeling I mentioned in an earlier question. I get the feeling it’s not just a job working here, it’s helping the people in the community to have better lives. I can’t imagine feeling that working for faceless corporation X or Y.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Step One?
Still very much the people. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go over the years, there’s only really one person from St Loye’s still here who was here when I started, so I’ve seen many people start and leave us, if not more. Then losing big contracts and the merge with CCT and the change in direction that brought about, yet the people were always amazing. There’s a warmth and helpfulness about them and seeing what they do for our client-base makes it all worth it.
Can you share any particular funny stories with us?!
There’s been so many times I’ve been in tears laughing while here, some of which are probably not PG13 stories unfortunately! One of my personal favourites is the staff member who insisted the printer was broken. We spent like an hour trying to fix it over the phone, but it turned out, they were trying to photocopy a black and white original, back into colour! When I explained that specific technology hasn’t been invented yet, we had a good laugh about it!