Stuart Hector has seen lots of changes since he started out as an IT Support Officer straight from TAFE 18 years ago.
When he began his career at St Francis Xavier College Hamilton, in Newcastle NSW, computers were confined to the ‘computer room’.
Now they are ubiquitous in every aspect of school life. Since Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Education Revolution all students have their own computers.
The IT Support Officer’s role has grown in relation to the development of digital technology.
Hector has a hand in every operation of the school, be it students’ learning, the school’s overall administration systems, the teachers’ practice or the students' own personal technology.
“If someone cuts a cable and there’s no internet, you soon see how everyone is totally reliant on technology to do their work,” Hector said.
Hector now works in a team of two, an acknowledgement of this growing reliance on, and demand for support, and provides help in the classroom to teachers looking for innovative ways to provide lessons, and to help with their data recording and retrieval.
“Partly the job involves putting out spot fires, partly it’s about planning for the future and putting new systems in place. I’ve seen the transition to digitising all information in schools and been part of that transition.”
Hector particularly enjoys being part of a school community which feels supportive and works together.
“There’s a lot of satisfaction to be gained from helping students learn and helping the team function,” he said.
In NSW and ACT Catholic systemic schools the growing importance of the IT specialist was acknowledged in the recent enterprise agreement, which created a separate category for IT support staff.
“I believe this is an important step because it confirms that our work is a specialisation and it allows us to access a higher pay grade a s a result.
“It shows that our role has evolved with the digital revolution and that it will likely keep changing into the future,” Hector said.