There is a recruitment problem for Edu IT.
Right now there is a serious recruitment problem for IT support in Schools.
There is simply not the people with the skills and the experience going into schools, because the wages are so low, the expectations and demands are so (often unreasonably) high.
Support staff, in whatever capacity, are often looked down on in schools. Especially when teachers don’t understand what we do.
In addition years of technology moving forward, shiny sales people, and high budgets has led to many deskilled individuals who claim expertise, when really they commissioned others and many schools ended up with half arsed solutions that achieved little, other then to lead staff to loose the will to live, or even worse, to be tied into only one program and never embrace new technology.
When schools have had to replace due to retirements, or a sudden realisation by staff that they could earn a load more in industry – there simply isn’t anyone to take the role. Because who would want to run networks with hundreds of client devices of every conceivable type, users who all have different usage scenarios and who don’t take no as an answer, and have been known, on occasion, to ask me to rewrite Microsoft Office365 to meet their needs, for £19k.
Where schools realise they are being held back because they have been too scared to get rid of staff that have fooled them into believing that Windows 10 isn’t relevant – there is often not the expertise to get these people out the door. I’ve been to places where there is no working backup. And staff have not been even pulled up on it.
So, central teams pop up, offering a dwindling number of talented network managers the chance for progression, that many are doing as they have no other choice. From this new position they are to take advantage of centralisation and being able to do even more with even less.
But the issue is the same. Now we are expecting first lines to travel, and manage multiple sites on the same wage.
But these roles are for new staff, and so, they are often younger, and have no work experience. So it’s a constant battle to manage the pressure on them, if you can even get them in the door, because the expectation of them to have the skills, a car and insurance is asking a lot.
So you have your hopes higher for senior roles, get someone who has already got experience, but they are either being chained to their current role because schools are so scared to lose them, or they have gone into industry for real money, using their wide range of skills which is so rare in industry where people usually specialise in specific areas.
Leaving you with apprentices. Who, either rise and leave, or stay and drown.
Whilst central teams give fantastic opportunities to those who want a career, we shouldn’t hide from the fact, if we can’t get people through the door, it’s pointless. We need more money for wages. To deliver more, for less.
Because, there are a lot of positives for the role. Experience of a wide range of solutions, unique challenges and an incredibly rewarding job of playing a major part in getting kids educated. By either your provision, your support to teachers or your systems.
There are some great people doing great things, but not enough. We need more. For more.
In other news. I’m recruiting for several roles for several schools, check out my Twitter @msetchell or www.lourdesit.org.uk/vacancies