|In our next meet the team article we talk to Jen Lee, Assessment Development Manager at SIAS.|
|Thanks for joining us Jen, tell us about you and your role at SIAS?|
“I’m Jen and I’m the Assessment Development Manager at SIAS. My job is to make and pull together all of the materials that we need for a standard, so everything from guidance material right the way through to the materials that the assessors use to actually assess the apprentices.”
How long have you been at SIAS and what’s your background that got you into doing what you’re doing today?
“I joined SIAS in August 2021 so I’ve been here about 16 months now.”
I’ve had a fairly varied career but started out as a teacher. I did a chemistry degree and then trained to be a secondary science teacher, which I did for about 10 years.”
“During the last couple of years of my teaching career, I did a master’s in educational assessment so, when I left teaching, I went to work for Cambridge International, which is a parent group of exam boards in the UK. I was in the international arm of the organisation but I was their UK base. I left there to work for the STEM Ambassadorr programme, so I was part of the team that ran the North East STEM Ambassador hub and I was there for about five years.”
“I then took what might be described as a slight diversion into software engineering, so I was an apprentice software engineer for a little while so, like some of my colleagues who have been through an apprenticeship, I started one and then this opportunity came up, so here I am.”
You’ve talked a little about your role… is there a typical day for you?
I think, like most of us at SIAS, there’s no such thing as a typical day! It varies hugely but the vast majority of my time is spent digging through assessment plans, really getting into the nitty-gritty, finding out what we need and turning that into the materials that are then used. There’s lots of proofreading and lots of detail!”
Is it the kind of role that’s facing out to customers?
“My role actually doesn’t require me to have much interaction directly with our customers. I’m very much a support for my colleagues in those front facing roles at SIAS and I like to see myself as a key hidden link in the background helping to make it all happen. It’s very difficult to see or measure but, if it stops, you’d soon realise!”
There is quite a lot of things happening at SIAS. What’s the thing that excites you the most or interests you the most about what’s going on?
“One of the most exciting things for me on the horizon is that we’re going to be investing in a testing platform. We’re still, at the moment, on paper-based question papers but that’s going move to on-line testing. We’re literally in the very first stages of starting to look at which companies we might even consider working with on this, so while the process hasn’t really fully started yet it’s really exciting to think about us going on that journey.”
“We’re estimating that the move to a testing platform will be about six months from beginning to end and that comes, of course, with the bitter-sweet pill of the fact that there is going to be a LOT of work to move everything over but in the long run, it will make things better, quicker, easier, faster.”
You’re also an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champion… what does that involve?
“I’m one of the ED & I Champions across the Cogent Skills group and I’m really involved in helping to shape and push forward our equality, diversity and inclusion agenda in the organisation. It’s quite early days at the moment and so far we’ve had some training and now we’re at the point where we’re going to do an audit of what’s going on already and then start looking at where there are improvements that can be made. I’m really looking forward to being involved in making a difference with this work.”
And finally, tell us about Jen outside of work?
“I am a massive STEM nerd, so I do love a bit of nerdery. I keep up to date with developments in science and technology, in particular. I love meeting up with my friends and I do go running and go to the gym. I also enjoy ice-skating; I’m rubbish – I can skate forwards in a circle at best – but it’s something I really love doing at our local rink.”