Trained on IT: Charmaine van der Merwe (front, left) and her training team in the ICTS training room in Kramer Building: (from left, clockwise) Tracey Buchelt, Chris Mtshengu, Shaheed Clark, Fahiem Jattiem, Gavin Joe and Megan Abrahams.
What's the job all about?
In a nutshell, Van der Merwe manages the end-user software training function for ICTS. She analyses the training requirements expressed by the UCT community and makes sure that suitable courses are designed, scheduled and delivered. Working with a team of six staffers, who rotate between their roles as trainers and helpdesk consultants, she makes sure that members of the UCT community are able to use software effectively to enhance their productivity. To make sure that the course offerings keep up with the latest technology, Van der Merwe designs new courses, such as the popular social media course, and the new course on iPads and other tablets that is currently in the works. She manages the internal training function for ICTS staff members to ensure that they are ready to support all the new technologies and services provided by ICTS. In addition to delivering customised workshops to departments at UCT, Van der Merwe is also responsible for the marketing of all ICTS courses.
What are the challenges of the job?
Van der Merwe believes that, in this techno-cluttered day and age, IT training is vital for making people more productive. However, she worries that this isn't always top of mind, which sometimes leads to delegates pulling out of training, at the last moment because they can't get the time away from the office. Budget constraints also impact on training, as this tends to be the first place that managers look to make savings.
What are the highs?
There are two things that really inspire Van der Merwe and keep her motivated in her job. "One is when participants have that 'Aha' moment when they really understand and can apply their newly-acquired skill to their job," she says. "The second is to see how enthusiastic the trainers are about training - their passion for their subject matter and their willingness to assist participants in their quest for knowledge."
And the lows?
Van der Merwe's team has had to deal with some physical challenges over the last while. Like the roof in the training room collapsing, and the flooding of the training room - twice! Not to mention the general noise and dust as a result of the building works on middle campus.
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