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Meet the Skills Coach: Scott Sammons

Meet Scott, a Data Protection and Information Governance Skills Coach here at The Specialists Hub, who found his way into the industry by chance. After being made redundant, he landed an administrative job supporting the IG team at Essex County Council. What captivated him and kept him in the profession was its sheer fascination. The field involves diverse projects and areas within organizations, communication with staff at all levels, and ever-changing challenges. Despite the initial overwhelming flood of unfamiliar terms and requirements, Scott discovered the rewarding nature of the work. As a Skills Coach, he sees the value of empowering apprentices and witnessing their growth, realizing the impact of his guidance on their professional journeys.

Read on to find out more about Scott!

3 fun facts about Scott

  • I am a massive Trekkie! If I can get a star trek reference into my day, I will!
  • I am a qualified master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
  • I can’t be around Goats Cheese. It’s vile I can smell it from 20 paces!
scott pic

To be honest, like many of us, it was rather by accident. I was made redundant from a previous role and needed work, so I applied for an admin job supporting the IG team at Essex County Council. What drew me to stay in the profession however, was the fact that is so fascinating. We get involved in all sorts of projects and areas of our organisations. We speak with all levels of staff, and we face different challenges every single day. It’s challenging and rewarding at the same time.

I started with no knowledge and no experience supporting the IG team for Essex County Council. I had some IT experience (as that was my first few jobs) but had never heard of things like Data Protection. My first few weeks and months were an overwhelming flood of terms, acronyms, and random requirements I’d never been exposed to. It can be overwhelming and yet with time and patience, it starts to form part of your bread and butter too.

Information Governance can be incredibly dry and, in some areas, inflexible/complex. What brings it alive and turns it into something that makes a difference is the people doing it. In my role volunteering with the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) I’ve become even more convinced of this. Case and point, at a recent conference a lady found me and said that she attended a Records Management course I ran a couple of years ago. At the time she was debating staying in the profession as she was struggling and yet after attending that course she decided to stay and make a go of it. 3 years later and she was well on the way to building her career. Just from a 1-day course where she felt that she did know what she was doing and gained the self-confidence she needed. That’s powerful, and for that reason being a skills coach for our apprentices is worthwhile. I don’t claim to be all knowing, but if I (and the other coaches) can help our apprentices grow into the brilliant professionals they want to be, that’s amazing.

Setting aside the paperwork (one of life’s certainties like birth, death, and taxes!), a skills coach is mainly there to support the apprentices. So we’ll have 1 to 1 sessions with the apprentices we are assigned to, we’ll monitor their progress and agree some objectives, we’ll liaise with their day job boss and agree how they can do their apprenticeship work. We are a professional buddy and friend, and also someone that will challenge an apprentice to help ensure they push themselves and get the most out of their learning. All that, with copious amounts of Tea and while working in the industry myself as a remote DPO and consultant!

Be aware of imposter syndrome. Because our profession is very knowledge and experience based, there is a very real danger to feel like you don’t belong or are not good enough because you don’t know the answer to every question. The truth is, in our sector, no one does. Things like Data Protection and other things are so circumstantial and full of nuances that no one can possibly know all the answers to all the questions. The key thing is to learn to ask the right questions and where to go to get to something close to the answer. That critical internal voice can be really unhelpful; however it can also be really useful for keeping you on your toes and always looking for new challenges and knowledge. Listen to it but remember that it is not a completely truthful voice.


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