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Audio Visual Centres in the 21st century
14 Faculty Based AV Technicians .
14.1 Traditionally AV technicians work from a centre and migrate to various departments to carry out their tasks on an hourly or daily basis. This practice wastes time and does not build relationships within faculties. Every day departments may have a different technician and both have to get used to each others working methods. With sufficient numbers of AV staff it is proposed that each technician will be responsible for his own departments and or Faculties.
14.2 This will ensure that there is a familiar face that academic staff can readily identify. An in depth appreciation of that departments work will be built and an affinity will develop between both parties. The AV technician will always be the first point of contact between the department and MSU centre. In particular new staff would be informed of all of the services on offer by MSU thus reducing the amount of advertising needed overall. If special projects are being developed that involves MSU the technician will be sufficiently proficient with the work of the unit and will be in a position to recommend a particular specialist. A training period for all AV staff is considered essential so that they are conversant with all of the available services on offer. They will become an effective `sales' team for the unit together with representing the unit within their sphere of operation at user groups.
14.3 It is envisaged that other AV staff would have to become familiar with each others departments to provide cover for periods of absence. Rotation of staff would take place at specific period to cover these eventualities.
14.4. In an exercise of this nature where staff are seconded from the centre to departments it is essential that the AV staff do not forget that they are employed by the centre rather than the department that they service.
14.5. This is particularly important when staff need to collectively work on a joint project for the centre. If they are not effectively managed excuses may be found by the incumbent why they cannot help due to other commitments for the department or faculty for whom they are seconded at the time. If this happens then the whole scheme collapses.
14.6 The line manager must be aware of all the major commitments for his/her technicians at any given time. This is where room bookings via networked terminals will become invaluable as a management tool enabling staff to be used effectively and to maximise their time. Each technician will have a computer terminal at their remote site where they will have a local timetable that is specifically for their location. It will become increasingly important to control staff activities in the future to keep overheads to an absolute minimum.
14.7 It is also essential to have routine staff meetings for all personnel who are seconded to Departments and or Faculties so that their MSU identity is not lost. This increases the management workload but it is essential to maintain morale and commitment to the job.
14.8 This has to be achieved without the loss of job satisfaction and the individual must be able to identify with the responsibility that has been delegated to him/her. A certain amount of autonomy is vital to the overall success of the operation. It should not be forgotten that the majority of AV tasks can often be routine and retention of high calibre staff must not be overlooked, therefore one must ensure that some independence is built into any scheme that is developed. This may seem to be an impossible task but if people are trusted to work within broad guide lines rather than rigid frameworks greater flexibility can result. Good line managers are essential, they must be involved in day to day work and be able to help out as necessary during busy periods.
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