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

Booking Open


3 July 2024

4 July 2024

Book Before

31 May 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.

We are looking for speakers to share experiences from a galaxy of topics including:

  • Real-life examples of change and innovation
  • Career journeys and skillset development
  • Mental wellbeing and the work life balance
  • The adoption of artificial intelligence
  • Innovations in teaching and learning technologies
  • IT security and cyber threats in practice
  • Diversity, inclusion and belonging within IT
  • How are you improving customer experience

If you or a colleague have anything to share about how these (or other subjects) benefit our community, then please submit a summary of the proposed presentation via our online form.

Deadline for submission 5th April 2024

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


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James Poulter

Founder and CEO

Vixen Labs (part of House 337)

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Fola Braimoh

Head of IT Operations & Support

Goldsmiths, University of London

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Wayne Winterbottom

IT Support Manager

University of Huddersfield

Vickie WIlkie

Victoria Wilkie

IT Services Operational Assurance Officer

University of York

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Antonia Jones

Interim Application Support Manager

University of Leeds

More Info

I fell into my Higher Education IT (and overall tech) career at the University of Leeds IT Service Desk in 2012, transitioned to Application Support as an IT Operational Lead in 2021 and now Interim Application Support Manager as of March 2023. From my career and life experiences, I am passionate about customer service, mental health, equality, equity and diversity within the HE and Tech community (and beyond!)

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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

IT Operational Lead - Education Services

University of Leeds

More Info

After finishing a BA in textiles and some facilities & PA work I found myself at Leeds University in 2010 managing faculty timetables. I snuck into IT after a restructure in 2016 and completed a whirlwind course of shadowing most teams and then settled in Client IT for a few years. I joined the Server team in 2019 and then M365 team in 2021. I then made the leap to management as IT operational Lead 9 months later. I can't help but be enthusiastic about understanding people, building others self-confidence, Halloween, communication and creative problem solving.

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Jake Dovey

iSolutions Incident Response Team

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.

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Iain Cameron

IT Services, User Services Manager

University of Aberdeen

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Mat Flower

Assistant Director & Head of Digital Architecture

University of Wolverhampton

More Info

Mat is Assistant Director & Head of Digital Infrastructure at the University of Wolverhampton, where he leads the team responsible for shaping and planning the University’s digital architecture. Mat is also UCISA Secretary and a Director of USL.

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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.

The University of Birmingham’s Core Systems Oracle footprint is the largest in the UKHE sector.

Event Schedule



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.

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


Refreshments in the Exhibition


Travel time


Breakout sessions 1

  • Undercover Student: The Life of a University IT Double Agent
    Antonia Jones, Customer Success Manager, University of Leeds
  • Institutional Exchange. What's the story, its swapping glory!
    Wayne Winterbottom, IT/AV Support Manager, University of Huddersfield
    Ed Stout, Support Services Manager, Leeds Beckett University

Lunch and networking in the exhibition


Session TBC


Breakout sessions 2

  • Journey to Empowerment: Tools for Coaching
    Bex Cattran, IT Operational Lead, University of Leeds
    Jake Dovey, In-Person Support Manager, University of Southampton
  • Driving improvements to Service Health
    Mike Haward, Head of Service Performance & Monitoring, UCL
    Paula Kirby, Director of Service Management, UCL

Refreshments in the Exhibition


Session TBC


Close of Day 1


Pre-dinner drinks reception

in the Sky Loft


in the Sky Gallery



Welcome to Day 2

Jake Dovey, In-Person Support Manager, University of Southampton

Session TBC


Surviving then Thriving: The Human Side of Cyber Incident

Mat Flower, Assistant Director & Head of Digital Architecture/Information Security, University of Wolverhampton

Refreshments in the Exhibition


Student Wellbeing: Using technology to improve access to support

  • Rory Hetherington, Senior Business Analyst, University of Glasgow
  • Clare Craig, Head of Student Wellbeing and Inclusion, University of Glasgow
  • Suzie Shapiro, Wellbeing Lead & PGR Mental Health Advisor, University of Glasgow

Travel time


Breakout sessions


Lunch in the Exhibition


Session TBC


Future in Focus: Our Students' Vision for University IT Services


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