This October Rohin Mistry, our Service Delivery Manager is celebrating his 10 year work anniversary at Learning Possibilities.
I was lucky enough to catch Rohin for a quick interview, to take a quick look back at his successful career within the company.
10 years! That’s quite an accomplishment. So where did it all begin?
Rohin: “I started working at Learning Possibilities while I was still at University. It came about as my Placement Officer at the time was interested and impressed with the work that the Company were doing, and felt it fit in well with my degree. As a result of the placement and with help from my Placement Officer, in my final year, I actually decided to base my dissertation on virtual learning environments.”
On graduating university with a degree in Business Information Systems, what made you decide to come back to Learning Possibilities?
Rohin: “At the time I remember that my tutor wanted me to continue on to do an MPhil , but I ended up coming back to Learning Possibilities to start my career…little did I know I would still be here ten years on! I felt that Learning Possibilities, a company set to transform education with technology was something I wanted to be a part of.”
Do you remember your first role within the company?
“Back when I started, I first worked at the Warehouse, and then became an Engineer/Technician. Overtime I eventually became part of the 1st line support team on the Support Desk, and then my role subsequently progressed into Support Desk Supervisor, Support Desk Manager and finally Service Delivery Manager, which is where I am today.”
With all that progression, and that it’s now your 10 year work anniversary with LP+, how do you feel looking back on your achievements?
“I feel proud of my achievements, and am also very appreciative that I’ve had the opportunity to work with such great colleagues. I am really enjoying my current role as no two days are the same, so it certainly keeps you on your feet! I get to work with big international contracts, which means I’m working with clients from around the world on a regular basis. I try not to look back too much, but one of the best moments for me personally, was the launch of LP+4, something we had all worked so hard for. After so much commitment towards the creation of the product it’s very rewarding to see the platform support the goals of the Company, by helping to transform education worldwide.”
I asked Rohin why he tries not to look back too much, and he simply answers..
“because the only way is forward”. A superb work ethic, if I do say so myself.
“Keep moving forward”…is a phrase that isn’t new to me, and I don’t think it will be to you either. There is a big focus on us all as individuals to keep progressing, both personally and professionally, and where I can understand the concept behind this phrase, I somewhat disagree with it.
Yes, it is imperative to strive and to work towards your goals, achievements and future – but isn’t it nice every now and then, to also take a look back?
Around this time last year, Learning Possibilities were shortlisted as finalists for the very prestigious Education Investor Awards for Technological Infrastructure. Much to our delight as a company, we were presented with the award on November 13th, 2014 during a celebration of the innovation and excellence among businesses involved in the education sector.
For those of you who aren’t quite familiar with the Education Investor Awards, each year an expert panel of judges look for organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to the sector during the academic year.
Learning Possibilities, in my opinion, is made up of a committed, hardworking and passionate workforce, who continuously work together to produce ground-breaking solutions to support, aid, and to transform education globally. On looking back, I remember this proud moment quite clearly, how thrilled we were (and still are) as individuals and together as a company, to have had our work recognised in such a prominent manner.
It’s recently been announced, (yes, you might have guessed it) that we’ve been shortlisted as finalists for the same award again this year. There are currently lots of exciting things going on at Learning Possibilities, and we are all SO happy to be shortlisted again for the Technological Infrastructure Education Investor award for the second year running,. With this said, we do have to wait until November to hear the results. So for now, I shall ask you to wish us luck in the meantime, and I’ll close this blog with another popular phrase…”watch this space”!
It’s recently been confirmed, that the Welsh Government have extended the contract for Hwb+, for another three years. Hwb+ is the all Wales Learning Platform, powered by Learning Possibilities, which has been rolled out to all state schools in Wales by the Welsh Government.
As part of a Digital Wales campaign being carried out by the government in Wales, Hwb+, already embedded into the daily routine at a number of schools is proving to be an effective piece of software that can support and transform teaching and learning, benefitting schools in more ways than you would perhaps expect.
I personally have been lucky enough to see first-hand some of the positive ways in which Hwb+ has been embedded into schools across the nation, and it’s fantastic to see the way in which embedding the learning platform can motivate, encourage and enable learners like never before.
Commenting on the positive impact that Hwb+ has in classrooms nationwide, Julie James, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology at the Welsh Government said:
“Digital Technology is a really important enabler. We understand that our Welsh school children need to understand Digital Technology, and they need to be what we call digitally literate.”
With the growing success of the Hwb+ project, I for one am very excited to see what progress is made on Hwb+ as we continue to see collaborative projects, growth of digital competency in schools and an encouraged interest in learning take place over the course of the next academic year.
Take a look at the short video by Microsoft on Digital Wales.
Having worked with Learning Possibilities as a client, a consultant and as a Project Manager, I still find myself relating almost all my activities to the following phrase, “What Would School Leaders Think?”
For most people in schools, awareness of Information Security standards is limited, and usually only heard about when talking about data protection or when they have been told that they can’t or shouldn’t do something, by their IT Manager, the Local Authority or a Governor.
In fact, most schools should be able to easily understand not just the importance of Information Security but how it is assessed at companies like Learning Possibilities, and that understanding is all down to thinking like OFSTED.
As with OFSTED visits to schools, companies certified to ISO27001 (the principal Information Security standard) will have regular audits and inspections from an external body.
As with OFSTED, Leadership is key. It is not about recording security incidents or how quickly they are dealt with, it is not about recording how well your backups run and it is not about recording the results of penetration testing. It is about looking at how Leadership set objectives, evaluate them and justify subsequent decisions.
Yes, there is record keeping. Yes, there are processes and procedures that have to be followed. Yes, there is regular training on Information Management, Information Security and Data Protection. Yes, there are issues and risks to be dealt with. However, these are there to provide evidence to Leadership and the quality of work is more important than ticking boxes on the 114 controls across 14 groups.
Internal audits are the book scrutiny sessions and staff observations. External audits are the OFSTED visits. The Information Security Management System contains your Statement of Applicability (let’s call it your SEF), your policies and procedures, your record of decisions, your Objectives and Measures (5 year plan?).
It goes on. There are so many similarities and helps show School Leaders that Learning Possibilities understands the impact of OFSTED, not just because of the educational impact, but because we have our own version to go through. We also know all too well about it being about key decisions, not just weighing the pig!
External audits are done each year, and you recertify after 3 years. Out of the 3 possible outcomes only the top outcome, which is effectively a 100% adherence to the standard, gets you the certificate.
What does this mean for our customers? Well, the standard is a way of showing both the importance of Information Security to us as a company across all our work, and also that we put in the time and effort on it, ensuring that it is part of our core ways of working.
So, after a 13 month programme of work we are more than pleased to say that we passed our External Audits for this year and have now been issued with our certificate, after coming through with flying colours, the equivalent of Outstanding.
I say a 13 month programme of work … we have already started on the work for the next 3 years, including the work on the international update of ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015, the standard for Quality Management. Another opportunity for us to hold ourselves open to inspection against the highest possible standards.
I was delighted to read that Estyn, the Welsh school inspection service, has applauded Barry Island Primary School (BIPS) on offering excellent learning experiences to their pupils, in particular for using highly innovative and effective practices in developing Hwb+ learning.
Hwb+ is our LP+ platform in Wales and this is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time Estyn has mentioned a private company.
What are Barry Island doing that is different? They are following a simple formula that delivers; firstly engage the SLT in aligning Hwb+ to their school improvement plan. This gives the platform a purpose. Next, have a plan to roll out the platform across the school; in this case the school trained one class, and then added a new class every half term. Finally, ensure that there is adequate CPD. In BIPS case, this was through previous class staff becoming mentors for the new classes.
Becky Cadman, Acting Head Teacher at BIPS commented, “The key in including all stakeholders is not only the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’. Sharing the concept behind the facilities and ensuring everyone has an eye on the desired final outcomes as a collective!”