From teaching to tech

Sandwell IT director to step down after three decades of service.

A Sandwell businesswoman is set to retire after over 35 successful years serving the region’s education sector. Chris Hinson, Director of IT and Communications at SIPS is about to hang up her keyboard for the last time.

A successful sportswoman in her younger days and having started her career as a PE/Maths teacher in several Sandwell schools she quickly developed a new passion – IT. Following a secondment to Sandwell Council in 1991, a permanent position quickly followed, and Chris was instrumental in the creation of the original SMIS team when it was created in 2003, to support all Sandwell schools in the enhanced use of their Capita SIMS MIS system.

In the last ten years alone, the SIPS IT customer base has grown from 110 schools to over 260 schools across 13 local authorities.

“We’ve always had the attitude of ‘If we can, we will’,” said Chris, who will continue as a member of the Sandwell Business Ambassadors, and as chair of West Bromwich TIP Board.

“All of that growth has been by word of mouth and reputation, which I am really proud of. We are a support team, not just a help desk, and we make a difference – it’s what gets me up in the morning. I couldn’t be leaving a better team behind to continue the good work.”

As chair of West Bromwich TIP Board, Chris helped secure £25 million from the Government’s Towns Fund in last month’s Budget, which will help fund a range of improvement projects.

“I’m very passionate about West Bromwich – it’s been a big part of my life and I’ve never moved very far away,” she added. “In my youth, West Bromwich was a very thriving town, and this funding can play a pivotal role in helping it thrive again.”