Jackie Seymour – Undergraduate Centre Manager
Portsmouth Business School
I joined Portsmouth Polytechnic back in 1989 as a course secretary on the Milton site - the main requirement on the person specification was for RSA typewriting grade 3 which I had achieved by attending adult education. I was from Priory School and back then no one from my peer group went on to college, let alone University. My mum said to me when I was about 15 - learn to type and you'll always have a job - and she was right. I was the first Business School employee to have a desktop computer, can you imagine producing transcripts in carbon copy on a typewriter!
I spent my early years at the University engaged in course administration, working part time for quite a while whilst raising a family. The excellent family friendly policies of the University enabled me to change my working hours to suit this family life.
It was after about 15 years that things started to change for me, mainly because my children were growing up and I returned to work full time. My attitude to work changed and I wanted something more than 'just working'. The University created Senior Course Administrators and I was appointed to be one having worked unofficially in this capacity for quite some time.
At the same time Portsmouth Business School developed the Foundation degree in Business and Management and I was lucky to be encouraged and funded to be on the first cohort. Then began five years of very hard work, part time study and working full time, achieving firstly the FDA, and then a BA (Hons) Business and Management, achieving a 2:1.
During this time I applied for and was appointed to a secondment role, as a Jupiter Implementation Specialist on the project team for the roll out of the current student records system. I did this for a year and then my current role was advertised, Undergraduate Centre Manager for Portsmouth Business School. I would not have stood a chance of getting this role if I had not taken the secondment opportunity, always taken any training opportunities as they were offered, and embarked on the FDA. Every day is a school day as I have learnt to lead and manage staff. I have a commitment to continuous development for both myself and my staff and would like to think we are one of the most highly trained units in the University.
I would urge staff to complete all of the training offered by MSD, and also to consider external suppliers. The Association of Business Schools development programme for senior managers exposed me to national issues affecting all universities, I was weak on budgets and the NOV8 Budgets for non-financial managers was extremely useful, and ACAS training on extreme persistent workplace behaviours enlightening. I have found that whilst the University has a whole raft of policies and procedures that I must comply to and that help me do my job - it is only by attending training that brings them to life, and the opportunity to discuss real life scenarios is essential. I have a keen interest in behaviour in the workplace, and have lately been attending CIPD events learning about neuroscience. I am also a member of the Association of University Administrators and attend their conferences when I can. Portsmouth Business School and the University have been absolutely great in enabling me as a late starter to develop myself as an individual and a manager.
My advice to others - if a window of opportunity opens, don't be scared - jump through it, you have no idea where you might land
Has signed up to the MBA Strategic Leadership DA.