DWR training thrives under lockdown
Thursday, 4 June 2020
jannie-de-jager-1Jannie de Jager: “We must be doing something right”
South Africa - When South Africa went under strict lockdown on 26 March, the entertainment industry had been out of work for a couple of weeks already, with all shows on the events calendar either cancelled or postponed indefinitely. It was a grim picture, and Jannie de Jager of DWR Distribution believed that the very least he could do was use this opportunity to set up training sessions for the industry during this time.
While there was no shortage of training videos and webinars provided by international suppliers, which are still being shared on the DWR Distribution Facebook Group page, Jannie and colleague Dylan Jones, wanted to create a platform where training and personal contact with the industry could continue, allowing all parties to be motivated and to share knowledge. The only obstacle was navigating the best way to do this.
“We definitely had to get used to the world of streaming,” de Jager smiles. “Because the lockdown happened so fast, I initially felt like we were not 100% prepared for what we were going to be doing during this time and initially there was a lot of trial and error! Dylan and I quickly investigated streaming options in order for us to take the training online, and while you’d imagine this to be an easy task, it involves quite a bit of admin. Nevertheless, we quickly adapted and made the best out of it!”
While Jannie has focused on MA Lighting Crash Course sessions and facilitating very popular Q&A live sessions with the DWR team, the sales team have also contributed in hosting webinars with highlights including Vectorworks and Green Hippo training with Dylan Jones, rigging and safety discussions with Robert Izzett and DiGiCo sessions with Kyle Robson.
“The benefit of training online can be summed up as convenience,” Dylan Jones elaborates. “People can attend from the comfort of their homes and have the best view in the house from a shared screen, a chat window and the option to go over the session again in a recorded format.
“There are always new people attending from around the world, and we have one student by the name of Keegan Beavis from Durban who has attended nearly all of the webinars. It’s very inspiring to see someone taking advantage of this time.” Preparing for the webinars has also improved Dylan’s product knowledge and he has been able to spend some time learning the python coding language to develop plug-ins and solutions for clients through Vectorworks.
Kyle Robson has also presented a couple of audio sessions. “The response has been incredible!” said Kyle. “We have had people from around the world join in, which is mind-blowing. The challenge is not so much having 40 people watching you but, rather, it’s trying to judge how people are receiving and responding to the information provided from the training.”
“I am always keen on a bit of a learning curve and have definitely enjoyed the process,” said de Jager. “It has been fun connecting with people on a virtual level. That being said, I don’t think online training will completely take over for now, although it’s a great way to offer crash courses or more in-depth training. I will definitely be using this method of connecting in the future. When you start seeing people coming back for more, you realise, okay, we must be doing something right.”
(Jim Evans)

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