I sat down with our Application Support Analyst Claire for a chat about not only her work here at ai, but also her incredible work in Tanzania.
Hi Claire, in 3 words, describe what you do here at ai?
Facilitate, discover, resolve.
How long have you worked here?
I started at ai just over 2 months ago!
What do you enjoy most about working here at ai?
I love the can-do attitude to making things happen here, and the energy with which everyone approaches challenges – and that shows in the way ai celebrate their successes too.
What was it that got you in to technology?
My family had an old dusty BBC Micro when I was quite small. My sister and I used to
fight nicely take turns playing on all of the games we had on those 5 1/4” disks. I can still vividly remember the beep it made when hitting Shift + Break to reload the disk!
What is the biggest obstacle you face doing what you do?
At the moment, I feel like my time-management skills are really being tested. It’s brilliant being busy, between solving problems, learning the systems and making notes as to what could improve things – it’s helped me learn to think in simultaneous multi-threads.
What are you working on at the minute?
Currently I’m in the final month of my probation – although it will be somewhat punctuated by a little 4 week trip to Tanzania, so I’m really honing my incident management skills by owning every Severity 1 and 2 issue that come in to our team in working hours.
I’ve heard about your fantastic projects in Tanzania, can you tell me a little bit more about what you’re doing over there?
Since 2012 I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in running International Scout and Guide expeditions alongside experienced international scout leader Julian Sore. In both 2012 and 2015, a team of leaders took a group of 14-18 year olds out to complete Medical Centre project builds in remote rural Tanzania.
This time around we’re scaling up! Instead of one team working on one project, we have five teams working on five projects; a medical centre, doctor’s accommodation, two schools projects and renovation of a Tanzanian Scout Campsite. The teams and their leaders have worked together for 18 months, team building and fundraising for this final month. It’ll be lots of hard work in a challenging climate to finish off their projects in time for a big community party and grand opening by the bishop.
My role as Deputy Expedition Leader is working with the other 5 Core team members (go Team Rafiki!) to make sure all five projects go smoothly and ensuring that everyone is having a safe, awesome and unforgettable experience.
What inspires you to go back year on year?
Tanzania is a breath-taking country filled with natural beauty and Tanzanian people from every walk of life have all been so friendly and welcoming. Our focus is in forging links and putting money into local economies by employing local labour to build the projects. By bringing a group of Scouts to help sand, paint and finish the buildings alongside the local fundis (skilled workers) and Tanzanian Scouts, we sow the seeds of ownership and shared responsibility between Tanzanian communities and the young people from the UK. Plus everyone knows you can’t visit the African continent just once – you have to keep returning!
What is the most important thing you have learnt from your volunteer work in Tanzania?
Sometimes after a long day working under strenuous conditions, it can feel like you’ve not made a dent in the task-list. Making sure to reflect on what you’ve achieved with your team makes it so much easier to process what you’ve done, get some much-needed rest, and start the next day motivated.
Working together can produce results nobody dared dreamed possible.
What’s next for you at work?
When I get back I will be completing my final month of probation and then joining the Level 2 on-call rota. I’m looking forward to proving my worth as a member of this team.
What’s next for you outside of work?
Hopefully I’ll get to go to a music festival or two before the summer is out! I’m looking forward to ‘Always The Sun’ in Guildford this September.
Man AND machine or Man VS Machine?
I think people and machines can’t exist without each other. Plus I always fancied being a member of the Borg…
What trend are you sick of?
Excessive packaging – particularly plastics.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I played rugby for about 17 years.
Favourite piece of tech?
It’s not particularly high tech but I really love my slow cooker.
Last gadget you bought?
A Doogee Dual Sim smartphone to take to Tanzania. They’re good little phones and pack a punch for the money.
What are you most proud of?
That’s the hardest question! I’m proud of all the things I’ve said “yes” to – in life and work and play. I’m always looking forward to the next challenge
3 websites you visit every week?
Have a wonderful trip, we can’t wait to see the photos – thanks Claire.
Thank you so much for your support and especially thanks to Mark and the Management Team for the generous sponsorship of a wheelchair for the Itete Medical Dispensary, which was my first ever project in 2012!