(If you’re looking for my paper on the BCS Event click HERE)
Yesterday I kept an appointment to a talk that I really shouldn’t have done with my shoulder being the way it is.
Nevertheless I kept my word and booked the train for London to go to a discussion at the BCS.
The BCS is the Chartered Institute for IT based on Southampton Street just off the Strand.
Climbing into my car, sudden pain kicked in with a vengeance and with gear changes being close to impossible I made my way to Tiverton Parkway station, while at one point considering returning home.
Finally clambering into what was possibly the smallest most uncomfortable seat that I believe the First Great Western train company owned, the train set off.
The thing is this, from the outset of being invited by Dr Sue Black, I felt it was important to go for reasons I could not understand.
I even tried to get WKD from this blog to go in my place, but she came back and said that I really should go if I could.
So what was the talk called and about?
Tomorrow’s Women, Tomorrow’s World!!
As the train plodded on I considered the title and what the talk would be about and certainly the panel who would be sitting. Most notably Dr Sue Black who is the head of department at Westminster University, Maggie Philbin who is a well known UK broadcaster and others.
Delayed into London due to a broken rail, I knew I needed to eat and the only man I know who knows the good places to eat anywhere in the world, often by simply walking past the place as 10,000 flies can’t ever be wrong – I twittered Dom Joly and asked. Within minutes the reply came back as; Maroush, 1 Edgware Road….
I was out of Paddington Station and heading to Edgware on foot… and it was bloody freezing ! lol
But the more I walked the better my shoulder felt, so I just kept going.
Arriving at the bottom of Edgware I saw a several Lebanese restaurants but none with the name Dom had given me. I popped into a news agent and he told me to cross the road and I’d see it. In doing I saw it straight away.
Taking a pic and sending it to Dom, I went in, told them I was in a rush and needed some thing quick and easy.
I was still presented with a menu and finally chose their Mixed Grill. I asked for a coffee and I think these pictures tell a far better story. I was again impressed with Dom the nosh Meister! Only to find they had run out of milk and had to go out to buy some…
But get this, from entering the front door, to leaving after being stuffed with a mixed grill, olives, bread and coffee – 23.5 minutes!! Total cost £17.50. Bloody awesome.! However, as I left I got a tweet from Dom who simply wrote ‘Wrong Place!’
I strolled back around to Marble Arch, the road junction there being the historical site of the infamous Tyburn where in centuries past, thousands had been either hung, drawn and quartered or simply burnt at the stake – ahhhh, the good olde days (sighs…)
On to the tube a quick change and alight at Charing Cross and exiting on Trafalgar Square.
A pleasant stroll up Strand passing all the big theaters I finally arrived at BCS a whole one hour early… The Irony being that is if I was being paid – I would have been late!
Sitting at a laptop on a hotdesk Dr Sue Black was busy crowbarring some powerpoint slides together with a mallet and I stopped by to say hello before she directed me to the most important of all places – the coffee…
Sue came over a short time later to introduce me to IT consultant, fellow blogger and twitterist @pjbryant – who, as it turned out, was from Wisbeach just north of Cambridge.
We were soon tucked into conversation and comparing our HTC telephones before going in to the talk.
Now, just before I finally get into the subject matter of this post, it turns out that @pjbryant had also suffered just about the exact same injury to his shoulder at one point and his knowledge about the matter was far more comprehensive that anything I’d heard from a Doctor or Nurse over the last week and I for one am fully grateful to his insight and information!
On the Panel were Prof Rob Macredie, Maggie Philbin, Dr Sue Black as Chair, Mohan Koo and Rebecca George OBE
The basic issue was this; Over the past however many years, there has been a constant decline in the amount of women in IT at one level or another. This has had variable reasons both social and relating to Human Factors, but the bottom line is Women simply appear not to be interested in a field where often they are exceptional compared to their male counterparts.
The next issue was simply; How do we get them back?…..
Now, like many I listened to this open debate with interest. I listened to the people qualified to know their stuff and a few points of view by everyone else – But!! As I told Sue Black later, I was chomping on the bit to say something. She asked why didn’t I and I simply said, when I get that animated my brain loses all contact with my mouth and it wouldn’t have been good.
I think that some may have felt I have come from a place of feeling my masculinity threatened, but if any of you know me I hang out with ladies who not only drive Big Rig trucks – they’re all IT savy people.
I actually disagreed with a good part of what was said, but there were certainly points that were going in the right direction, but fell short by the limited sight of the proposer.
From the outset, the wrong terminology was used, because the use of it limits the long term nature of the plans and goals from the begining.
Then for someone to say there is a lack of IT Engineers in the UK is about the single most uniformed piece of information I think I’ve heard in a long long time.
So, I aired a few thoughts with Sue and went on my way back across London to go home.
But it didn’t stop there, for the next four hours I thought about nothing else! I ripped apart argument after argument in my head followed ideas and proposals. And have been buzzing about this most of today while trying to sooth my shoulder.
This IS solvable, it ISN’T a problem and I believe I have a realistic point of view from where to start to address these issues.
However, I’m writing it all up and will publish it on here when completed – but not until Dr Black can have the chance to rip it apart first lol.
Dr Sue Black is a lovely person I met through the internet as she promotes the saving of Bletchley Park with every spare moment. Her photos do not do her credit and she is far more personable in real life than any one would imagine.
I enjoyed immensely being challenged by this meeting, it’s been over 5 yrs since I enthused about anything and last night, my brain was finally switched on again….
But here is what I will say;
The most basic foundation of the future of IT training, recruitment and employment requires one thing that’s doesn’t actually exist
The Definition of ALL IT and Telecommunication Trades, what they are and where they fit, not in a University, or a few offices of the middle of London – but The World!!
Without this, how can we even start to sell something that has no definition and position within the entire sphere of IT…
This is literally about going back to the drawing board and doing the QS on the whole thing, from the code crunchers, sat comm tech, the end users super awesome video editor and Vlogger. No one has done it, not ever, there is no one single industry bible of ALL trades and certainly nothing that would resemble anything readable by a 14yr old trying make a career choice.
Basic IT to MCSE standard should be taught and qualified in for the first 3 yrs of secondary education – why? Because this is basic info for the future of our civilized societies and should be a compulsory requirement.
The futures bright, The future – it’s in my brain -> Except for the fact that somewhere between BCS and home I lost my Kodak Zi8 HD camera…. if I hadn’t there would have been many more photos. I will endevour to contact the train company tomorrow in slight hope that they picked it up.