Meet Nick French, our IT Technician at the School of Physical Sciences. Nick studied Computer Science here at the University of Kent and began his current post in 2014. Nick and his colleague Trevor Reece make up the IT Department at SPS, helping to ensure our IT runs smoothly at the School. In support of LGBT History Month, Nick is also happy to share with both staff and students some extra questions.
1.What inspires you in your work?
That there is always room to improve, whether that be my own skills and abilities, or how a certain process is run, inspires me. Researching better ways to do things or keeping on top of new developments in the IT industry motivates me to strive to be better in my work.
2. When did you first realise your interest/passion for your role?
When I was trying to decide what area I wanted to study, I was really drawn to IT as it was (and still is!) a rapidly evolving industry. Growing up when I did I got to experience the advancement in technology from mobile phones to the internet. When I was a teenager I was always interested in both computer hardware and software and I get to work with both in my current job.
It wasn’t until I started my degree in Computer Science that I began to develop software and this has been an area of IT I enjoy in my spare time too.
3. What would you say is the best part of your job?
I get to enjoy quite a varied workload. The day to day activities I do will differ and juggling these alongside long term projects keeps the work interesting.
The best part of my job is encountering a problem I haven’t before as I get to learn something new. Having time to do research into the cause of the problem and implementing a solution is satisfying and something a lot of careers won’t offer, so I feel very lucky.
4. Why did you choose to work at the University of Kent?
I originally came to the University to do a degree in Computer Science which I really enjoyed. After having a variety of jobs in both Canterbury and London, I decided to settle down in Canterbury in my current role. The campus is great, with a wide selection of facilities. Working in education keeps your brain active as you’re always learning new things.
5. Where is the most interesting place you have been?
A year or so ago I was lucky enough to spend my winter break in Levi, Lapland. It was completely different from the UK, with lots and lots of snow and barely any sunlight! I managed to fit in all the touristy things like snow mobiling and dog sledding which was a lot of fun. I’d love to go back in the summer to see how different it is.
6. Do you feel being LGBT has affected your career decisions?
Being gay hasn’t affected my career decisions. I’ve never felt put off from pursuing a certain career because of my sexuality. Ever since I was young computers and technology have interested me and so I decided to take my career in that direction.
7. Have you had any reactions from colleagues about being LGBT either good or bad?
I don’t think I’ve been treated any differently from any other members of staff. I’ve certainly never had any negative experiences at work. When my partner and I got engaged my work colleagues were very happy for us both.
8. What would you say to those who may be facing difficulties regarding their LGBT status at work?
I think attitudes have changed so much that in many workplaces no one would make a fuss. If you want to come out just casually mention your partner (if you have one) or join the staff LGBT Network and let people know when you come to one of our meetings! I think in the unlikely event that your sexual orientation does cause an issue, there are people to talk to who can help and the staff LGBT network may be a good first point of call.
9. What can we all do to make Kent a better place for being an LGBT Staff member?
I think the Staff LGBT Network is a great place to start. Being visible and making a good impression are both important. Being accepting and accommodating to different cultures, personalities and lifestyles will make the University better for all staff and students.
Thank you Nick for taking the time to answer our questions!
If you’d like to take on our questions and share a little insight, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to share the achievements and successes of our staff, students and alumni, so please do get in touch.