VSJ – November 2001 – Members’ News

Robin Jones writes about the scheme for Student Members of the IAP who are looking for work placements.

When I visit universities around the country, I am generally hugely impressed by the ‘real-world’ attitudes of the staff in the computing and IT departments that I talk to. The ‘ivory tower’ and ‘dreaming spires’ sobriquets are certainly no longer applicable, at least in our neck of the woods. There is a real eagerness to develop and maintain links with the IT business as it exists. This manifests itself in all sorts of ways. One, very popular, route is to design courses that contain a work placement year (usually the third) so that, when they graduate, students can already offer employers an experiential component to their CVs. This is very much in line with the IAP’s philosophy that while academic skills contribute to competence, they do not, on their own, determine it. So we’re very keen to do what we can to support such schemes.

Many students say they have a good deal of trouble finding placements. This is, essentially, a broadcasting, or perhaps more precisely, a narrowcasting problem. A student can contact a few tens of companies before the process becomes too expensive, both in money and time. Since he or she has no idea whether a given company has a need for the specific skills offered it’s also likely that many requests will fall on stony ground.

What we do is to increase the bandwidth (maybe this metaphor has been stretched beyond endurance, now). Anyway, the mechanism is that a student who needs a placement can email me (eo@iap.org.uk) with some information about when they need it and what skills they have to offer. I’ll put brief details in these columns and readers who are interested in approaching them can let me know. I’ll then put them in direct contact, dating agency style. On the other side of the coin, employers can contact me if they would like to offer a placement and I’ll keep their details on file so that if and when an appropriate request comes from a student I can, again, put both parties together.

New Fellows

We congratulate two members who have been upgraded to Fellow:

David C.M. Bushell

David entered the computer industry in 1965, joining ICT on leaving the Royal Air Force.  He worked initially on the Orion 1 computer at Harwell, then moved to Orion 2 at Bracknell, which was in the process of converting to a commercial bureau.  His programming skills moved on from Orion machine code to Cobol and Plan used on the ICL 1900 series machines.  From here David went on to run the commercial computer centre for Rediffusion at Aylesbury.

In 1975 he joined Orion Insurance, where he remained as Systems Analyst/Designer for 13 years, then moving to Dominion Insurance in a similar but more senior capacity for a further six years.  It was during this period that he built up his outstanding expertise in the analysis, design and programming of business systems.  Since 1995 he has been putting these skills to good use as an independent contractor for an exceptionally wide range of clients, including Eurostar, Guardian Royal Exchange, Cosmos Air, and Three Valleys Water.  David became a Member of the Institution in 1997.

Emanuel Grech

Since becoming a Member of the Institution in 1992, Emanuel Grech has been one of our most enthusiastic Maltese members, attending our conferences in London on more than one occasion.  Emanuel was a government finance officer who, in 1972, became a Deputy Registrar at the Maltese Courts of Justice.  Foreseeing the benefits computers might one day bring to accounting and administration, he embarked on a one-man crusade to computerise the Court’s systems.  By the time he retired in 1996, Emanuel Grech was Director General of the Maltese Courts of Justice, presiding over a network that incorporated every aspect of the courts’ work. These included case management, printed lists of daily court hearings, a diary system incorporating every court’s appointments, every advocate’s appointments both inside and outside court, even experts’ appointments and a stock list of court exhibits.  The system will be available to the judiciary, advocates and even the public from their homes and offices. Although officially retired, Emanuel says he is busier than ever, designing systems to cope with Malta’s hoped-for entry into the EU.

Don’t forget to email eo@iap.org.uk with items of news about you or your company.

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