Last year’s winner in the technology category was Braemar College Network Administrator Contractor Matt Rigby.
Rigby was recognised by his colleagues for his “patience, humour and kindness”, qualities that allowed him to help stressed and frustrated teachers overcome their technological challenges.
“One of the things I’ve always prided myself on, and why I like working in this environment, is that I can take software and ‘computer things’ and I can convert them into ‘human speak’ if you like. I help people make the most of what is already available, but sometimes it’s a bit hidden behind gobbledygook and hidden features and all sorts of things,” he said.
“If you can sit there patiently with a teacher, who doesn’t have a lot of time, and just accelerate their learning process, I think that really helps.”
Rigby was shocked to find himself nominated for an Unsung Heroes award, and didn’t feel confident that he would win.
“Marg’s nomination was a ‘from the heart’ nomination; ‘Matt helps me, he helps all of us … he’s a nice guy’ kind of thing. I read all the others and they went on half a page and they were about all these accomplishments. Mine just said I was a nice guy, more or less. I was very surprised to find that every man and their dog seemed to have pitched in and voted!
“Everyone said “oh, I voted for you’. Being nominated was nice; I was blushing and everything … I even had parents come up with me and say ‘I voted for you’, because the principal put it in the newsletter.”
Although Rigby has had a passion for technology since he was 12 years old, he acknowledged that there are risks involved.
“It’s not all good,” he said.
“Kids and teachers get themselves into trouble from time to time. We’re talking about the viruses that jump on computers, and the phishing scams. Kids finding themselves on dubious websites, all of this happens.
“The internet is very much like the city, you wouldn’t leave your kid to wander in the city alone.”
Although there is a stereotype that technology professionals are “geeks”, Rigby is evidence that communication skills are an asset for those in the role.
“With IT, we are geeks. We’re geeks but we’re people too.
“There’s more and more of us that are more people than geeks these days … the stereotype is this guy who can barely take his eyes off the computer, and when you talk with him, he always talks his techno jargon.
“We try not to be that…”
Nominate for this year's competition here.