Introducing an Old Hand

Jack Simpson

Head of Marketing and Communications

Clapton is god

I’d love to say I sat down and had a chat with Shaun about his new position as Training Manager…the reality is I handed him a sheet of paper with a series of questions to answer. One does what one can.

Shaun became Web Applications UK’s first Training Manager a couple of weeks ago.  I’d summarise his role here but if you read on you should get a pretty good idea about what he’s going to be up to.

Let’s start with some background. Why is the role of Training Manager necessary?

We discovered a need to ‘spread the knowledge’. The software industry is extremely fast-paced and we need to ensure that everyone is aware of the latest technologies we use and, crucially, how best to use them.

What are your main duties as Training Manager?
The TM makes sure that everyone is aware of what technologies we use at Web Apps and how we use them. The TM identifies training needs and ensures all employees take part in some sort of training. Lastly the TM enforces development policies and procedures, keeping an eye on quality.

What are your goals/ what are you ultimately hoping to achieve?
I want to improve the way we share knowledge with the business, and ultimately raise the bar for our standards to make them even higher.

How are you planning on achieving this goal?
Well it’s still early days but I’m doing a full review of what training we are currently enrolled in and analysing what tools are available in the market to help us do our jobs more efficiently.

So for these training videos, are we going to get hours and hours of an Oldham accent or is there no voice-over or is someone else doing the talking?
Oldham accent I’m afraid, but be glad it is not an American whine. Note: interviewer is American and is now extremely offended. This attack however does not impact her journalistic integrity. Moving on…

What are the training videos expressly for?
The videos are instructional and are intended to allow us to share information more easily. They will demonstrate how to do certain development tasks to make it easier for people to learn new.

Are any client-facing videos on the agenda?
Potentially yes but they aren’t on the agenda at the moment.

As the company grows, your job is going to get more difficult isn’t it? Do you have plans to implement some sort of method of tracking things efficiently?
I’m hoping to utilise Microsoft SharePoint as a ‘training hub’ and inspire others to be open about what they’ve learnt and how we might all benefit from it.

Is it a little scary taking on a role that hasn’t really been done before? Or do you kind of feel you were doing it anyway before you were given the title?
I was already doing elements of it, but I like the fact that no one has done it before. It means I am free to come up with new ideas for everything and am not constrained by existing processes.

How is your time divided between monitoring training, monitoring code, making videos and development consultancy?
So far it’s been 80% development consultancy, but this is coming down gradually. Long term it will probably be 70% training, 30% development consultancy.