SSG24: The Future is You! Navigating Tomorrow's Challenges Together

Booking Closed

Primary Sponsor


3 July 2024

4 July 2024

Book Before

27 June 2024

Park Regis, Broad St, Birmingham


About the Event

Join the Support Services Group on our two-day mission to explore novel new technologies, to seek out new ideas and new collaborations and to boldly go where HE hasn’t gone before!

Learning from the past and predicting the future, this conference will showcase how you and your crew can harness increased automations, mobilise technological advances and tame the dreaded AI.

People are at the heart of all SSG activities, so our focus won’t just be on the future of tech but the future of you! We will examine our evolving skillsets, share new ideas for good practice and inspire with innovations in wellbeing.

With big bang presentations from your peers and unparalleled networking opportunities, SSG24 will leave you fully energised and primed for whatever the future may hold. Sign up - it’s going to be bostin' in Birmingham. 

Be sure to save the date and bookmark this page for updates on SSG24 conference!



person smiling at the camera

James Poulter

Founder and CEO

Vixen Labs (part of House 337)

person looking at the camera

Fola Braimoh

Head of IT Operations & Support

Goldsmiths, University of London

person looking at camera

Wayne Winterbottom

IT Support Manager

University of Huddersfield

Vickie WIlkie

Victoria Wilkie

IT Services Operational Assurance Officer

University of York

person looking at the camera

Antonia Jones

Customer Success Manager

University of Leeds

More Info

Antonia embarked on her IT career in 2012, transitioning from customer service to the tech world at the University of Leeds. Over the past 12 years, she’s moved from the IT Service Desk to Application Support as IT Operational Lead and Application Support Manager then back into Front Line Services as Customer Success Manager. Beyond this, Antonia is also a member of the UCISA Support Services Group and a CMDA student. Her passions lie in enhancing people’s experiences, advocating for mental health, and championing equity and diversity.

person smiling at the camera

Mike Haward

Head of Service Performance & Monitoring

University College London

More Info

Mike has been in the IT industry for 30 years, including 20 years in the higher education sector. Mike has undertaken IT roles ranging from application development and testing, consultancy and project management, service operations, and service ownership. Mike currently heads up an IT service performance function at UCL.


Bex Cattran

Associate Operations Manager

University of Leeds

More Info

Having worked in most teams across IT since 2016 Bex made the move into leadership in 2022 and has built a number of development programs for IT staff focusing on their empowerment and mindset (IT Busters and Level Up). Completing CMI level 5 coaching & mentoring qualification in 2022 pushed Bex to pursue People focused role and was appointed Associate Operations Manager 2024. Throughout their career Bex has been using coaching to help IT staff encourage confidence, bringing creative enthusiasm to any project and now wants to share their techniques with you.

person looking at the camera

Jake Dovey

Incident Response Team Manager

University of Southampton

More Info

Jake has worked for the University of Southampton for over fifteen years and has been leading teams both small and large for most of that time. He has a strong track record for turning team performance around and building positive and inclusive team cultures. Jake is a popular speaker at UCISA known for his highly engaging talks that always give you practical takeaways.

decorative picture

Iain Cameron

IT Services, User Services Manager

University of Aberdeen

person looking at the camera

Mat Flower

(Interim) Deputy Director & Head of Digital Infrastructure/Information Security

University of Wolverhampton

More Info

Mat is (Interim) Deputy Director & Head of Digital Infrastructure/Information Security at the University of Wolverhampton, where he is responsible for shaping and planning the University’s digital architecture encompassing core infrastructure and information security. Mat is also UCISA Secretary and a Director of USL.

person looking at the camera

Stella Poole

Head of Core Systems Optimisation Team

University of Birmingham

More Info

Stella is the Head of Core Systems Optimisation Team at the University of Birmingham. She holds a BSc Hons in Computing and IT, and an MBA in Cybersecurity. Her professional interests include AI, Automation and Digital Sustainability.

person looking at the camera

Ivan Martinson

Senior Technician

University of Southampton

person looking to the right side

James Lloyd

Support Hub Team Lead

University of Southampton

More Info

James has worked at the University of Southampton for nearly 15 years, serving ranks of service desk, climbing through second line support to the go on to lead technical leadership of 2nd line, and then finding his feet in leadership. His latest embarkation is to launch, establish and run our full-fledged Tech Hub provision providing exceptional customer focussed IT support to the university's staff and student community.

person looking at the camera

Phil Payne

Group Director of IT Customer Experience

Bidvest Noonan

More Info

Phil has implemented ITSM across several departments over the last year, starting the journey to full Enterprise Service Management. Phil has been working in and around IT Service Management for over 20 years now and has loved how much value TOPdesk is bringing to Bidvest Noonan.

person looking at the camera

Barclay Rae

Barclay Rae Consulting Ltd

More Info

Barclay Rae began consulting in 1994 and has worked across all sectors as an advisor, as well as authoring several ITIl and SDI books and standards. He leads a niche consulting business (BRC) in service management. He also co-hosts the Enterprise Digital podcast. He. Barclay is an itSMF UK lifetime achievement awards winner.

person smiling at the camera

Fiona Brennan-Scott

Voice and Speech Coach, Member, Professional Speaking Association (MPSA),


More Info

Fiona is an enthusiastic cultural skills trainer, coach and speaker. She works with subject matter experts to increase their impact in organisations. She works nationally and internationally to help leaders engage with their audiences in-person and online. Fiona published her first book, ‘Breath-taking Communication: Tools and Techniques for Everyday Leaders’ in 2023.

person looking at camera

Simon Wright

Customer & Technical Services Manager,

University of Central Lancashire

More Info

Simon has been part of the Service Desk at UCLan for 13 years, with 4 years as manager. He has seen many changes, from ITSM tools, technology, end user expectations and more. He embraces the challenges posed by change, driving progress, and contributing to the development of the university’s services.

person looking at the camera

Gavin Baker

Service Desk Manager

University of Wolverhampton

More Info

Gavin has been the Service Desk Manager at the University of Wolverhampton since Nov 2021 and oversees the Service Desk team as well as the 2nd line Service Delivery Analysts team. He has a passion for service improvement and since his time at the University has implemented lots of Service Improvements, including an enhanced Out of Hours Service, improvements to the ITSM tool, set up and implementation of Student Enrolment hubs and investment in the Service Desk team’s performance and wellbeing.

person smiling

Rory Hetherington

Senior Business Analyst

University of Glasgow

More Info

Rory has over four years’ experience at the University of Glasgow, having previously worked in large scale transformations in the finance sector. As a Senior Business Analyst, he has been instrumental in the delivery of various digital initiatives at the institution. Initially involved in developing the university’s core app, UofG Life, focus has shifted to enhancing the overall digital experience for staff and students.

person looking at the camera

Suzie Shapiro

Wellbeing Lead & PGR Mental Health Advisor

University of Glasgow

More Info

Suzie is currently Student Wellbeing Lead at the University of Glasgow, where she leads a team of mental health professionals who provide proactive and holistic support to meet the wide range of complex and varied wellbeing needs within the university community.

person smiling at the camera

Fiona Bicket

HE Management Coach

More Info

Fiona is a Self-belief Coach and Management trainer working exclusively with HE professionals. She has 16 years of experience working in and around the sector and she believes that, despite what most people think, courage is the fastest route to creating the kind of change that you want to create.

person looking at the camera

Stanley Blinco

Enterprise Account Executive


More Info

Stanley is an Enterprise Account Executive at HaloITSM, one of the fastest growing software companies in Europe. Working at HaloITSM for 3+ years now previously working as a consultant within the company implementing HaloITSM for a variety of customers.

person looking at camera

Ed Stout

Support Services Manager

Leeds Beckett University

More Info

Support Services Manager at Leeds Beckett University, Ed has a wealth of experience in Service Management having worked in a variety of roles within the public sector for 15+ years. He is also the chair of the UCISA SSG22 conference. Within his current role, Ed is responsible for the first and second-line IT and AV support services at LBU. Ed is passionate about developing successful teams and delivering exceptional customer service. He is an active member of the UCISA SSG Committee and enjoys contributing within the community.

person wearing a baseball cap looking at the camera

Andy Scott

Senior Manager (Service Desk and 2nd Line support)

Durham University

More Info

Andy has worked for Durham University now for just short of 9 years, he is a key figure in leading the front line services teams. Prior to his time at Durham University he has considerable experience of working within the NHS and private sector. Andy is also the co-chair of the Support Services Group and plays an integral part in the UCISA community and is always looking to contribute and encourages other share and develop.

Away from work Andy is a keen runner and golfer, and has recently started his journey as a student with the University of Sunderland as a part time MBA (Level 7 - Senior Leader Apprenticeship)

person looking at the camera

Mindy Bour

Deputy Head of IT Operations & Support

Goldsmiths, University of London

More Info

I joined Goldsmiths in 2011, initially working in the Estates department as the Telecoms Manager. I then transitioned to the IT department in 2015, where I advanced from a Telecoms role to becoming the Service Support Team Leader.

An opportunity later arose, and I was successfully appointed as the Deputy Head of IT Operations & Support. In this role, I oversee the team's operations and performance, as well as collaborating with the Head to set goals and priorities for the team.

person smiling at the camera

Nathan Hallam

Education Sector Lead


More Info

Nathan is the Education Sector Lead at Freshworks helping Universities, Educational Groups and Institutions understand and take the next step in their service management digital maturity. Enabling these organisations to deliver significantly better service in a far more efficient and effective manner is critical in these difficult financial times.

person with beard looking at the camera

Samuel Cook

Senior Solution Engineer for Freshservice


More Info

Sam Cook is Senior Solution Engineer for Freshservice and has been working in this field for just over 6 years. I work with customers daily to help them better understand how ITIL alignment, supported by automation and AI, can improve and achieve their business and software objectives when it comes to maturing their ITSM/ESM processes.

person looking at the camera

Yasiruk Karawita

IT Asset Configuration and Centralised Management Lead

University of South Wales

person looking at the camera

Matthew Pengelly

IT Service Delivery Manager

University of South Wales

More Info

I am the IT Service Delivery Manager at University of South Wales, with primary responsibility for maturing, developing and delivering IT Services at USW. We have recently launched a new ITSM solution (Freshservice) which I will be presenting on during the SSG conference.

Headshot of Emma Barwell

Emma Barwell

Head of User Experience and Engagement

University of Wolverhampton

More Info

Having spent the last 15 years in FE and HE I have experienced first hand how technology has transformed the way we all work and learn. And exciting as technology can be, it also means increased risks associated with the use of the internet, so cyber security practices are an inevitable part of delivering the digital university.

Event Schedule

Night prior


Drinks and "wear your passion"

Get ready to inject some fun and personality into your pre-conference evening with our "Wear Your Passion" gathering! We invite you to head to the Park Regis Hotel bar at 1830 in a t-shirt or any other piece of clothing that proudly showcases something you're passionate about, whether it's a favourite band, movie, or sports team. This playful activity is designed to make connecting a breeze, turning your outfit into an instant conversation starter. So, grab that cherished band tee or team hoodie, and join us for an evening of lively discussions and shared enthusiasm. See you there!

Informal pub grub

With appetites sharpened, we’ll head to a local pub (currently The Figure of Eight on Broad Street, a 5 min walk) for some informal pub grub. Keep an eye on the Ucisa Conference App for any updates to venue.



Registration and Exhibition opens


Newcomers Session

If this is your first UCISA conference, or your first for a while, please join us for a session describing how to make the most of the Conference.

(In Sky Loft)


Welcome and introductions

Iain Cameron, User Services Manager, IT Services, University of Aberdeen

Unlocking Opportunities: Leveraging Networking, Mentoring, and Coaching for Inclusive Participation in IT

Vicky Wilkie, IT Services Operational Assurance Officer, University of York 

Speed networking bingo


Refreshment Break

in Exhibition

Future-Proofing Communication: Elevate your Impact in an Evolving World*

Fiona Brennan-Scott, Voice and Speech Coach, Member, Professional Speaking Association (MPSA), Bespoken

(*this session contains interactive element)

Travel time


Breakout sessions 1


Lunch and networking in the exhibition


Travel time


Breakout sessions 2


Refreshments Break

in Exhibition

Close of Day 1


Pre-dinner drinks reception

in Sky Loft

Dinner including Gameshow

in Sky Gallery.

Dress code is smart casual



Welcome to Day 2

Jake Dovey, Incident Response Team Manager, University of Southampton

Wakey Wakey with Jakey: How to WIN at meetings

Jake Dovey, Incident Response Team Manager, University of Southampton

A practical approach for Experience Management, XLAs and SLAs

Barclay Rae, Barclay Rae Consulting Ltd

Refreshments in the Exhibition


Travel time


Breakout sessions


Lunch in the Exhibition


Putting the “Self-Serve” into a “Self-Service Portal” (Sponsored by TOPdesk)

Phil Payne, Group Director of IT Customer Experience, Bidvest Noonan

Tech Hub Triumph: Revolutionising IT Support for Staff and Students (Including personal kit)

James Lloyd, Support Hub Team Lead and Ivan Martinson, Senior Technician, University of Southampton

Refreshments in the Exhibition


Enhancing Customer Experience in IT Support Services

Stella Poole, Head of Core Systems Optimisation Team, University of Birmingham

Closing remarks

Iain Cameron, User Services Manager, IT Services, University of Aberdeen

Conference close