Remap engineer, local group chair and trustee

Posted on the 3rd June 2018

I’ve always had an interest in all things technical/engineering. It was difficult to keep me out of the engineering workshops at school, and even more difficult stopping me pulling things apart at home to see how they worked or fixing them when they broke! I joined BT as an engineering apprentice in the early ‘80s, picking up electronics and IT skills in the subsequent years. Nowadays, I oversee the delivery of IT and network services to BT’s corporate customers and in my free time, I volunteer at Remap.

My first encounter with Remap was their recruitment stand at a local model engineering exhibition back in 2007. Remap is a national charity which either custom makes equipment for people with disabilities (where there is no commercially available solution) or adapts commercial equipment. Seeing their stand, I realised there was an outlet for the various design, technical and fabrication skills I’d picked up over the years which were starting to acquire cobwebs through my move into management at work.

Remap made Chloe a customised saddle so she can enjoy horse riding.

However, I soon became aware that Remap also needed the business, professional, and IT skills I’d acquired over the years. So, I volunteered myself as a trustee and joined the board in 2015.

It’s always difficult for charities with a small operating budget and a small core of paid employees to be able to afford the broad range of skills needed to run a business, but it is important they find a way of bridging that gap to ensure they manage risk, are compliant with legal and regulatory responsibilities and govern the charity effectively.  As a trustee, I provide additional guidance on IT and related matters, and have also been preparing Remap for the forthcoming change in data protection legislation – the GDPR – over the last six months, ensuring our central office and local groups are ready for that change. Navigating any new legislation such as GDPR is a challenge for any organisation.

It’s a demanding role but it’s hugely rewarding work. I’ve used my engineering skills to help hundreds of people in my area, and I’ve used my managerial skills to help our charity reach thousands more across the country.

This clever wrist support means Linda can keep playing her piano.

Remap helps ten people every day – that just wouldn’t be possible without the combined professional experience of our trustee board.

Remap volunteers worked with a local college to develop special wheelchairs for contemporary dance.

It’s a given that the charity and many clients have benefitted from my time, but I have benefited too. I’ve met some wonderful people, including like-minded engineers from a variety of different and interesting backgrounds I’ve kept my assortment of technical skills current, and even learnt some new ones!  The lateral thinking, problem-solving and creativity required for Remap solutions also transfer back into the workplace – demonstrating that a well developed corporate culture of volunteering is a wise investment for any employer.

Whatever skill-set you have, you will find a charity somewhere who needs your help. I found mine and my life is richer for it.

Ian Midgely

Volunteer engineer, local group chair and trustee of Remap

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