Our Marketing team have continued to support staff in promoting all that is positive about our establishment, our people and our courses throughout the current pandemic.
Sarah Williams is the Marketing and Communications Team Leader who, in April, should have been returning to the Rhos-on-Sea campus following maternity leave. However, lockdown of all of our campuses prevented this, and Sarah was suddenly faced with juggling work and a baby at home. She said,
It has been challenging returning to my role in the midst of a global pandemic, particularly with both my husband and I working full-time from home and a toddler causing chaos! But we have made it work - splitting the childcare responsibilities between us during the day and then using evenings to catch up on work projects. Our little boy has made a star appearance in a few Google Hangout meetings too!
Sarah was not the only member of the Marketing Team to have to cope with new parental responsibilities during lockdown, as Senior Website Developer Dewi Parry also became a father for the first time at the beginning of the year. He said,
Becoming a father and having a son is truly incredible, full of perfect moments and terrifying ones. You quickly learn to expect the unexpected. Sleepless nights? Check. Being covered in sick? Check. Endless nappy changes? Check. But seeing a smile on his face and hearing him laugh instantly erases minor frustrations like these.
The most difficult part of being new parents during lockdown was the fact that we couldn't get any help. Whilst not seeing the in-laws every day could be considered a Godsend, going from having support on-tap for the first two months of my son's life to being completely isolated for the next three months was very challenging. Juggling work and helping my wife during the working day was difficult to say the least. But as with anything in life, you adapt, overcome, and thrive. They say that every cloud has a silver lining, and I guess that lockdown has meant I can see my son develop day by day, as I'd otherwise have been in the office and missed many milestones.
When it comes to working from home, the nature of my work means that I can work from anywhere with an internet connection. Remote access to servers, using cloud based storage and meetings via web cam was the norm pre-pandemic, therefore it was much easier for me to adapt than perhaps it has been for other members of staff.
Senior Marketing Officer Andy Mercer described his experience of lockdown and of working from home. He said,
The speed at which the lockdown happened meant adapting to a new way of working quickly, but as a department that works across the Grŵp, the team was already experienced in regularly working remotely from our offices. We've taken the opportunity to have regular online meetings and everyone has worked hard to ensure a continuity of service.
Personally, thanks to the support from the ICT team, I was able to quickly convert my spare room into an office with all the equipment that I needed. Most of the systems that we use are web-based and so I can easily access them all from home, and continue with all our projects.
I've made the most of my evenings by getting out on my bike or going for a run - time away from my desk - but with the relaxation of the lockdown rules, a haircut is now the number one priority!
Communications and Web Copywriting Officer Beth Nicol said,
It has been an extremely unsettling time for everybody, including me, but I've kept some kind of daily routine going, no matter how I'm feeling: get up, dress up, show up and never give up! We've all had to be even more creative when it comes to marketing over this period, and it's been difficult at times, but I think, as a team, we've risen to that challenge and produced some excellent material for social media and the website. Our team has really pulled together through this, and having such supportive colleagues has made a huge difference.
Working from home has been quite strange, as I'm not used to sharing an office with my husband! The only poor soul in our house who hasn't been able to work from home throughout this crisis is my youngest son. He's a mechanic with the council, so his job is essential in making sure things keep moving, which makes him a bit of a hero in my book!
I must admit that I am looking forward to being able to go for unrestricted, long walks again, as I normally love spending time in the mountains but have been following advice and staying local since the pandemic started. I miss the freedom, and will never take that for granted again.
Marketing and Press Officer Nick Hill said,
It has been extremely challenging working from home, especially without access to our Marketing drives. But, the team has been marvellous: each member supporting one another throughout the crisis, both work-wise and emotionally.
Marketing and Communications Officer Olivia Mortimer said,
The team has adapted really well to the changes, and we chat regularly on Google hangouts about work, but also about how we are doing in general. My colleagues have been a great source of support. Although we haven't been able to go and meet up with staff and students to discuss good news stories or to take photos to capture the college successes we, as a team, have been highlighting their hard work and positive attitude on social media and our website.
Finding out about colleagues' hidden talents and how students have been spending their time has really encouraged me to spend more time on my hobbies, including sewing. Like many other staff members and students, I've put my machine to good use by making PPE items for key workers using materials I have found around the house. I have also made myself some outfits for when the lockdown is over and we can all go out and see friends and family again!
Social and Digital Marketing Assistant Matt Davies said,
As a great deal of my work is digitally produced, it was obviously easier for me to adapt to working from home than some other members of staff. However, I do miss being able to go out and about, taking photographs and filming staff and students, but have luckily been able to work with existing material as opposed to creating new content. Personally, as a Liverpool fan - and although I'm obviously delighted they've won the Premier League this year - I have missed live football, and wish I could have been there to see them clinch the title!
Sarah Williams concluded,
It's been a challenging few months but the team have adapted brilliantly to the 'new normal' - finding innovative ways of sourcing and utilising content and hosting our first ever Virtual Open Events! We continue to be the busy Marketing and Communications department that we have always been and we look forward to the opportunities that the new term in September will bring.