Graduating in 1992 with a BA Hons Computing & Information Studies degree I entered the workplace not really knowing where it would take me, but with a passion to continue to learn and work across multiple disciplines of IT. This was something instilled and very much part of the overall course curriculum at Brighton Polytechnic.
The interest to apply skills across disciplines and avoid “standard swim lanes” is probably one of the best skills to have acquired at university and I have since worked for different companies across many areas, both in individual, manager and more latterly, Senior Executive Leadership roles. Being curious is today something I encourage in all my employees and colleagues, as well as when I occasionally mentor individuals. It is something that drives creativity along with passion and drives real and tangible change.
Today I am privileged to work at PTC (www.ptc.com) as the Chief of Staff and COO across Europe, Middle East, Africa & India. This is one of the most passionate and creative companies I have worked for. It’s a company that provides software enabling ideas and creativity to be captured; modelled and designed into products; tested through simulation; smart manufactured including through 3D printing; monitored and supported through technologies such as Augmented Reality. We impact real lives for thousands of companies and consumers.
By way of example, today we are all faced with probably one of the biggest challenges impacting us all globally,
COVID-19. In this climate it is amazing how many global companies are rising to the recent challenge the UK Government has presented due to the shortage of life-saving ventilators (https://hvm.catapult.org.uk/news/covid-19-the-ventilator-challenge/) vital tools in the fight against COVID-19.
Being able to rapidly manufacture these life-saving devices in a safe, consistent manner is critical. Using technology to assist in the rapid re-training process, so that organisations that do not traditionally make ventilators can now do so, allows for the rapid fabrication of these devices. Speed is of the essence but so is the need to do this right, in the right steps and with a high degree of quality control – and also, remotely given the need to self-isolate.
As a company that specialises in allowing companies to bridge the physical and digital worlds through technologies such as Augmented Reality, PTC software is the ‘glue’ ensuring companies like GKN Aerospace (and many other manufacturers) can re-tool factories and importantly use their high volume workforce to rapidly reskill in the assembly of these ventilators. PTC through its generosity is providing this software glue in purely an altruistic manner during this crises, and for this need. It is our sense of duty and testimony to the quality and desire to simply “do good” at this time and be measured through our direct actions, not words of support. It is also why PTC is often independently highlighted as “a great place to work”.
For those in education we also make some of our software available to academics at no cost, as we recognise the need to support our future world-class leading engineers, designers and entrepreneurs. More information can be found at (https://www.ptc.com/en/academic-program).
My advice to anyone graduating today is to always remain curious and passionate in what you do. Push through boundaries and challenge the norm. Enjoy the diversity that the work environment can provide and even a bad idea is better than no idea.