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Charlotte Howe is an IT Service Manager for problem and change. After studying ICT in her A Levels, like many other students, Charlotte didn't know where her career was headed. In this article, we share the secret to getting her foot in the door.
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Charlotte Howe is an IT Service Manager for problem and change at the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA). Her accomplishments in the past five years prove that being technical-minded isn't the only way to thrive in this field.
Although most of Charlotte’s day-to-day job involves managing a governance team, she excels when governing the change control process, deciding when to get approvals from key stakeholders and understanding the possible impact of changes.
So, how did someone with little technical experience find themselves in an IT role?
After studying ICT in her A Levels, like many other students, Charlotte didn't know where her career was headed. It wasn’t until her brother recommended applying for an apprenticeship with HP that her career began to take shape.
She began working on a service desk before exploring different roles at HP. This provided her with a valuable understanding of how tech companies operate and their structure.
During this time, Charlotte started a degree with HP through QA to further develop her skill set and understanding.
When an opportunity for a 12-month role as a Configuration and Release Analyst at the NHSBSA came up, Charlotte decided to apply. However, when she was offered the role, she faced a dilemma: should she remain in her current position until she finished her degree, or should she take the leap and switch to a new organisation?
After contemplation, Charlotte decided to join the NHSBSA and they agreed to support her degree alongside her role.
According to Charlotte, her experience working for the NHSBSA has been filled with opportunities, surprises and great times.
Since starting as a 12-month Configuration and Release Analyst in 2018, Charlotte has earned two promotions, first as a full-time SIAM Analyst and later to her current role as IT Service Manager.
So, what's the secret to getting your foot in the door?
Charlotte believes that if you are passionate and willing to make a difference, many employers will often value these traits above experience.
If you have drive then I don't think you need to have all the experience and background knowledge.
Above all, Charlotte credits her success to the NHSBSA’s unwavering support, allowing her to not only achieve her goals but also step outside of her comfort zone.
What Charlotte loves about being an IT Service Manager is that no two days are the same. Her position presents something new each day, leaving no room for boredom or complacency.
Requiring a strong attention to detail, the role involves understanding any proposed changes, and their potential impact on the business and evaluating outlined risks.
Her recent work in change management involved governing changes to the Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC), formerly known as the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). She was responsible for ensuring the change management process was followed correctly, all the necessary details were accurate and the relevant processes have been updated.
Before joining the NHSBSA, Charlotte thought the NHS was for doctors and nurses. To Charlotte’s surprise, the healthcare sector is made up of more than just clinical roles.
From contact centre agents to communications and marketing professionals, service delivery managers and software developers, the breadth of the NHSBSA’s services means there’s a role for everyone. Charlotte adds:
I knew the NHSBSA was an arm’s length body of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), but I didn’t understand the sheer number of services we provide. For example, prepayment certificates and global health insurance cards. It’s remarkable how many services we oversee that directly impact the public every day.
Charlotte's initial weeks at the NHSBSA were brimming with surprises, as she had much to learn and absorb. However, the supportive team and culture at the NHSBSA meant that Charlotte could learn at her own pace without the fear of falling behind.
Perhaps one of the NHSBSA’s best traits is its culture, which creates an environment where colleagues can thrive individually and collaborate seamlessly. Charlotte adds:
Everyone is really understanding of what everybody else does and gets along with one another. The best thing about working for the NHSBSA is indeed the people, we’re one big family!
One example of how much the NHSBSA cares for its staff is its flexible working arrangements. The NHSBSA recognises the importance of helping colleagues balance their work and home lives and this is reflected within the People Promise and flexible working policy. The organisation is committed to enabling employees to work flexibly wherever possible while balancing the needs of the organisation.
This commitment to the organisation’s culture is further demonstrated by the busy schedule of events and activities, often organised by the organisation's various lived experience and support networks.
In terms of career progression, Charlotte couldn’t praise the NHSBSA more.
The NHSBSA is a great place to try something new. There are plenty of options for secondment, shadowing, and career pathways that allow you to explore all different areas of the organisation.
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Charlotte's story serves as an inspiration for those considering a career change or entering the IT field without a technical background.
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