PSS Distinguished Achievement Awards 2017 – Anthony Steel

Faculties and all individual members of staff are invited annually to nominate colleagues for a Professional Support Services, Library and Cultural Institutions’ Distinguished Achievement Award.

One of 2017’s runners-up is Anthony Steel, FBMH.  Congratulations!

Here is an excerpt from Mrs Hayley Monk’s interview on her winning nominee.

What qualities do you think merit a distinguished achievement award?

I think a Distinguished Achievement Award should represent a sustained and demonstrable dedication to the PSS core values, especially teamwork and a respectful working environment.  For an individual nominee I think strengths as a team player are essential and someone who continually looks at ways to help and actively contributes to support others to keep motivation and performance high.

What made you nominate Anthony?

Anthony – like lots of people – was affected by the restructure of 2016 but was in the frustrating position of still being in a long-term acting up role at the time that the restructure came into force.  He was, therefore, ineligible to receive an aspirational interview for an equivalent grade position in the new technical structure yet had other technical staff ‘aspiring’ to the role that he was largely already fulfilling.  Anthony dealt with this in a true altruistic fashion, by being open with his knowledge and skills and helping anyone who approached him for advice ahead of their own aspirational interview.  He was extremely professional and behaved as a real team player and since subsequently being successfully employed into his current Technical Manager position he has brought about some very effective changes in a relatively short timeframe.  Motivation in his team has never been higher.

Why do you think it’s important to have these awards?

It’s extremely important to recognise what we do well and to send out a positive message about the real strengths of the University’s Professional Support Staff workforce.  It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate this success each year by recognising those individuals and teams who have really gone above and beyond in their efforts and dedication to their role.

What impact does Anthony have on your team?

Quite simply Anthony is extremely good at what he does but because he is so natural in his approach, he probably doesn’t realise it himself half the time!  He provides an extremely high level of customer service to his academic colleagues by taking the time to listen to their requirements and is not afraid to make suggestions offer feedback to their practical classes.  As a manager he is very supportive of his team and often puts their needs ahead of his own in order to motivation high and deliver a First Class service to every student who passes through his labs.

Here are a few words from Anthony.

Could you provide a very brief history of your career here at Manchester?

I started at the university in 1997 as a Grade A (1) Term Time only Technical Assistant in the School of Biological Sciences Teaching Labs. I arrived with no real science background, a handful of GCSE’s and no particular plans for a future career.
As new technology appeared in the lab, the need for a qualified science/IT technician broadened my horizons. I attended night school at Openshaw College and day release at MMU where I gained both a HNC in Applied Biology and a City and Guilds qualification in IT Maintenance and Repair. Over the years I have worked in teaching I have seen, and been part of, the development of the department where we now have more than 2000 science students using the labs for the practical part of their degree course. This is stark contrast to the 60 science students that we had when I started 20 years ago!

What does receiving the distinguished achievement award mean to you?

Receiving the distinguished achievement award has been important to me because it has recognised not only my contribution to the teaching labs over the last 20 years but the contribution that is made by all the teaching staff day in day out. The success of the Stopford Undergraduate Teaching Labs is a real team effort and I feel thrilled that we have been rewarded with this award.

What would you say is your greatest work achievement to date?

I would say that my greatest achievement has been my whole career progression. As a 19 year old lad with no real idea about what I wanted to do with my future, I have worked through every grade available in the Teaching Labs from Grade 1 to Grade 6. I have been fortunate enough to be nurtured in a similar way to our Apprentices and through my involvement with the Apprenticeship programme I   can now give back and help nurture others. One could also argue my greatest work achievement was meeting my wife!

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