Team Spotlight: Nat Hardwick

As part of our ongoing series of introducing key members of the IOEE team, we sat down and had a coffee (well, Nat had a couple of his signature, strong espressos) to find out what’s been going on with SFEDI Group’s Digital Director.

So Nathan, how about a bit of backstory and how you ended up in your current position?

“Quite the question with quite the answer! I had a varied background before joining SFEDI/IOEE including acting, being lead singer in a band and member of an improvisational comedy group, but the less said abut all that the better.

Suffice to say that I’m better with computers than I am with a live audience! Joking aside, I’ve always been involved in creative and entrepreneurial endeavours. In fact, being a musician or live performer means being an entrepreneur. Bands and comedy groups are just like small businesses, particularly when you’re first starting out, you have to look after sales and marketing, branding, logistics and staff (specifically bass players!) So throughout my twenties I was being an entrepreneur, I just didn’t realise it. I was too busy chasing fame. Spoiler: It somehow managed to evade me.

Sprinkled throughout the ‘wannabe’ years I also flexed my digital muscles and developed a few software products in the training field, a paperless NVQ portfolio system and one for Investors in People. These gave me my first touch point with SFEDI and I consulted on the first National Occupational Standards for small businesses (mine were the e-commerce standards, for any budding NOS historians out there).

Then I realised that pop stardom was not to be mine, hung up my leather trousers and started a design and development business with SFEDI as an early client. From there I was asked to join the board, a decision I’m sure the other directors regret to this day, taking me to my current position of Creative Digital Director.”Think Enterprise | 15

That’s quite the story as to how you ended up where you are today, so what does your current role entail?

“I’m responsible for all things digital. Our web presence, the development of our online campus system, digital member services, Registr8 (our custom registration and certification system) and video creation. I also work closely with Lewis, our Marketing Executive, on Social Media Marketing and ongoing digital presence.”

You sound extremely busy Nat, so is there a lot you’re currently working on?

“Absolutely currently I’m working on our online learning provision, both as a direct offer and as support for our network of academies. Watch this space for some exciting developments in the area in the New Year. Something big this way comes!”

You mentioned previously the development of the IOEE Campus, I’m sure many of our IOEE Members know the fantastic benefits available within the campus, but incase they don’t, how do your work benefit members?

“My intention is to create a support touchpoint for our members ensuring access to quality digital content. The web is awash with guides and tips from lots of ‘experts’ and even the odd guru! My aim has always been for our digital offer to be a trusted source of information and learning, based on best practice and years of research. Our members can rely on what they learn through the IOEE to be the best it can be.”

With everything you do, you must have certain areas you particularly enjoy then?

“One of the great joys of working here is the flexibility my role offers. Rather than having a narrow focus, we’re able to pursue ideas and strategies that we find interesting (so long as there’s an underlying business benefit).

As the team is small we have a lot of ownership over what we do and it’s very rewarding when an idea pays off (not so much when it doesn’t! (But that’s being an entrepreneur for you!).

A great example is our recent investment in a video production suite to develop training and marketing videos. A larger organisation might outsource this function but a hobby of mine is videography and I was able to bring these skills to bear on the business.”

It’s great to see that a lot of your hobbies outside of work come together to help the business within working hours. Finally where to you see the future of SFEDI and are there any objectives you’re currently aiming towards?

“I see us being a much stronger force in online learning, not just in and of itself but also as a support resource for the great work our network of academies and Centres of Excellence are carrying out. An upcoming partnership is going to be extending our offer in this area and enable those working with us to offer a fully rounded, online and offline provision that I think will be second to none. Bold words? Absolutely! And then fame will finally be mine.”

Thank you again to Nathan for a very enjoyable chat and we can’t wait to share with you some of the exciting projects coming up over the next few months!