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Why the needs of the learner is CNet’s highest priority

Why the needs of the learner is CNet’s highest priority

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Pat Drew, Instructor and Online Tutor at CNet Training, discusses the data centre industry’s move towards sustainability and why it’s so important, as well as revealing what he thinks sets CNet apart from other training/education providers.

Pat Drew, Instructor and Online Tutor at CNet Training, joined the CNet team in 2017 with over 24 years of experience in the industry. He has worked in various roles from Network Engineer to Data Centre Manager, covering Europe, North America and Asia. Now, Drew is helping CNet spread the message about the importance of sustainability across the industry.

Drew is a champion for sustainability, successfully completing the Business Sustainability Management program from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) in 2020. Drew delivers CNet’s Level 5 Certified Data Centre Sustainability Professional (CDCSP) program from CNet Training’s highly acclaimed Global Data Centre Education Framework. He is also one of CNet’s dedicated Online Tutors, providing ongoing support as part of the pre-class study and during CNet’s Distance Learning programs, including the Masters Degree in Data Centre Leadership and Management.

Here, Drew offers insight into his career journey and tells us what sets CNet apart from others. He also provides advice for aspiring data centre professionals.

Can you tell us a bit more about who you are and your journey to becoming a CNet Training Instructor?

I have worked in technology for a number of years and held various roles from Network Engineer, Shift Leader, Corporate Voice and Data Services Manager, Project Manager and to Data Centre Manager (list has been abridged). When the opportunity came to tell others about what I know and give them the benefit of my experience, I couldn’t resist.

How did you enter the data centre sector?

It was by accident rather than design. I worked at British Telecom and ended up installing digital circuits (Kilostreams and Megastreams) at customer premises. These were often installed in ‘computer rooms’. One particular organisation liked the way I worked and offered me a job of looking after the infrastructure in its computer room, that’s how it all started.

Why did you decide to become an Instructor?

I have worked in the industry for many years and it came to a time where I wanted a change in direction. I had no idea what this change would be but then I heard about an opportunity with CNet Training. I discussed it with my wife and she remarked that she hadn’t heard me talk so passionately about a work-related subject for a long time. It was then that I knew it was what I wanted to do.

What is the most rewarding thing about being an Instructor?

There is much to like about the Instructor role at CNet. As mentioned earlier, I have had many years’ experience in the world of technology and now I have the opportunity to talk to people about that and help these individuals to move their own career forward. I really enjoy that moment when learners understand new concepts and watching how their confidence begins to grow as they take new knowledge and skills on board. 

What do you think makes a good Instructor?

Firstly, it’s important for an Instructor to reflect on what happens in the classroom as the learning experience is very much both ways; Instructor to learner and learner to Instructor. A good instructor needs to appreciate that individuals learn in different ways and the teaching materials should reflect that. They also have to be adept at explaining complex issues and concepts with clarity and an appropriate level of detail. Finally, they need to have passion about what they teach and care about the material and their learners.

You are also an online tutor for CNet Training? Can you explain a bit about what this means and how you are able to help learners across the globe?

CNet Training offers a number of professional programs and these programs have two parts; home studies and classroom attendance. The home studies is a series of modules a learner has to study with associated checkpoint quizzes to help us track progress. As an online tutor, my role is to welcome the learners to the program, explain the content and to support them online as they make their way through the material. I will check on the learner progress and stay in touch with them to ensure they are ready for the classroom attendance part of the program. 

What do you think sets CNet Training apart from other training/education providers?

The formal line will be about high standards, excellence in quality and performance and the high level of skillsets we have with our Instructors. But really, I think I can sum it up in just a few words; the needs of the learner are CNet’s highest priority.

If you could change one thing about the data centre industry what would it be?

Collaboration. It is something the industry fails badly at.

Why is sustainability so important for the data centre sector and what can organisations do to improve their sustainability?

That is a major question and I am not sure I can do it justice in just a few words. The data centre industry, with its growing power consumption, increasing carbon footprint and resource usage, is very much under the spotlight. Sustainability can help address these issues as it is directly associated with optimisation. Sustainability initiatives can help to reduce energy consumption, reduce carbon footprint, reduce the use of excess resources and lead to innovative approaches with cooling systems, power and water usage.

 What’s the most useful piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

That came from my dad who told me to never accept the ordinary.

Any advice for anyone looking to get into the data centre sector?

Working in the data centre industry is challenging and demanding but can also be exceptionally rewarding. Improving skills on a constant basis is part of the industry so the only advice I would give is to never stop learning.

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