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Spotlight on training with DNASTREAM

At DNASTREAM we work with organisations to help them deliver technology-based improvements and we are often involved in planning, creating and delivering the training programme. Here we consider the role of a DNASTREAM trainer with Jennie Quinn, Senior Consultant.

Introducing Jennie Quinn – Senior Training Consultant

Jennie is a Learning & Development professional who has experience working globally across many different sectors including hospitality, manufacturing, utilities, recruitment and public sector. She has a track record of successful project delivery and takes pride in creating new visionary e-learning assets. Here we ask her about her role.

A selfie of Jennie on an airline seat, with headphones, settling in for a long distance flight.
Jennie settling in for a long distance flight.

What would a dream training project look like?

Ideally we would want to see the trainers involved in a project as early as possible. The more we are embedded in the business and available to support the system build and test, then the greater the strength and depth of our knowledge will be. It means that we can be involved in the training strategy and in preparing the training requirements documentation which is the safest way to ensure that we deliver really robust training to end users.

Even if we know the technology inside out, no training programme is the same. Often the technology has been heavily customised and of course the business processes, culture and staff themselves are all different from project to project.

How does your role sit alongside organisational change management?

The training I deliver tends to be based on new technology, but this often reflects new business processes and ways of working. Ideally the company will have approached the technology project through a lens of organisational change management, it definitely makes a difference. It allows trainers to focus on the new technology rather than facing questions about business strategy and the reasons and justification for the change in processes.

There is always an element of dealing with those big picture questions, the training room is when it all gets real for people. The change is no longer conceptual and people see what their job is going to look like from now on. But the journey people have been on to that point makes a huge difference to the success of the training.

What can be the challenges of training?

It’s often the case with technology projects that earliest stages get pushed and pushed, but that deadline doesn’t change. So it’s often the final phases of the project, like training, that get squeezed.

This means that we often don’t have a clean test environment for training, ideally there would be a sandbox so that users can play in the system without impacting the real life data.

But the reality is that often the system is still being built with the interface, fields and functionality still in a state of flux. And there can be a challenge in preparing the data for the training environment so that the test data is robust enough to allow the process to be followed from start to finish in a realistic way.

What is life like as a trainer?

It’s often a role that takes you on the road. Last year I delivered training for a customer with a global reach which meant a week in the UK followed by a week in Singapore and Australia – it sounded like the trip of a lifetime. But of course the reality of business travel isn’t all that glamourous, with a lot of the time spent in airports, hotels and offices.

It was great to get back out there and deliver face to face training again but coming out of Covid-19 I did have to get used to travel again, the visas, the airport security, just remembering what it’s like being out and about in the world again.

Of course, when covering large distances in short time frames then the time difference can mean that you’re working when your UK colleagues are sleeping (and vice versa) and there is the jet lag to contend with. On one leg of the journey Singapore the airline staff could see how tired I was and made me an ice cream sundae and gave me a teddy bear to brighten my day. The great thing about travel is that you meet wonderful people wherever you go.

An ice cream sundae, a teddy bear and a best wishes card.

At the moment I am working on a project creating online training material and a train-the-trainer pack for a customer’s upcoming implementation, so a bit of respite from living out of a suitcase. It’s a great balance and keeps me excited for the next adventure!

What’s the best bit about being a trainer?

By far the best thing about training is getting the positive feedback. When people come up to you at the end of the day and say “thank you, that was great”. It’s so nice to hear and it’s so rewarding to see people put what they’ve learned into action.

Another great aspect of the job is floorwalking, seeing people using the new technology as part of their every day job, using real life data and completely getting it.

What’s it like to work for DNASTREAM?

Being a trainer can be quite a lonely job if you haven’t got the support of the team around you. I couldn’t wait to come back and work for DNASTREAM because they feel more like a family than an employer. It’s such a supportive environment, and there are always people there when you need them. It makes the world of difference.

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