I have worked in a number of industries, the most recent being mining. Prior to that I worked in construction, oil and gas, as well as finance and agriculture. I also took advantage of the audio visual hardware boom of the nineties and ran my own (very successful) company for thirteen years. A common thread throughout has been multimedia production geared to training for companies within these industries.
My skills are:
- Conceptualisation, taking the abstract and producing physical communications that are understood by the target audience,
- Writing, ranging from reports for government, training manuals, lead articles for trade journals, internal and external company communications and general knowledge sharing,
- Multimedia production, primarily in video, photography, and presentations, with total responsibility and involvement from research, to scriptwriting, image creation and presentation of the product,
- Facilitation, to a broad audience, where I can train workers with limited English language abilities and enable comprehension leading to new skills, improved productivity and behaviour change,
- Verbal communication, the ability to address multi cultural audiences in clearly understood language as well as senior management with confidence and credibility.
- Empathy, the skill of recognising cultural differences and crossing the cultural barriers, using my own values and experience to connect and influence.
What inspired you to get into this sort of industry?
My ability as a world class explainer. Given the time and resources I use visual media to impart knowledge and understanding on any given subject to any audience.
What qualifications and experience did you have to gain In order to establish yourself and therefore become a professional within your industry?
I have made it my passion to observe people in daily contact, principally when they are from different cultures, and listen to them communicate. I have always tried to improve this interaction using my visual communication tools and experience in various industries. Along the way I gained a communications degree, went through numerous training programs, and worked on assignments that were new, unique and innovative. Added to this are many years using the tools of my trade – writing, cameras, editing, audio and presentation hadware. I have also benefited from working in many varied industries. The making of a multimedia learning and development specialist has no blueprint or guide.
What is the most challenging aspect within your field of work?
Getting senior management to understand that multimedia production is a science and an art. It is the product of right brain thinking which left brain thinkers try to fit into their disciplines and work. In the worst cases they impose their own experiences on the treatment and production of the message.
How do you manage and overcome these challenges?
With patience and by producing results. Over time they recognise the work ethic and, after they have seen the results of my productions, understand the elements that create the message.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Recognition in various forms. I won the Institute of Personnel Management Training Video of the Year two years running, in 1985 and 1986. Material that I have uploaded to sites such as Slideshare have been viewed many times and even downloaded. I also value the recognition given by my managers, such as this one from the Qatar Shell GTL Project, posted on my Linkedin profile and reprinted here:
“I worked with Warwick on the Pearl GTL Project in Qatar and Warwick’s background and experience in Film and Photography proved invaluable to the project as we sought innovative ways to get our Safety message across to a multi-cultural, multi-lingual workforce. Although this was not Warwick’s principle role in the project, I was quick to take advantage of his knowledge and experience to help me produce Safety Training Videos, Presentations and Computer Based Multi-Media Training Courses. The Expetise Warwick provided, along with his eye for the visual representation of the Safety Message, brought a sharper edge to our training programme and helped make it the (award winning) success it is today. I would like to recommend Warwick to any potential employer and I wish him well in the future.”
Other highlights include the explicit encouragement from management to embark on ambitious projects without their interference or direct supervision, relying on me to use my skills and experience to deliver the final poduct.
If somebody starts as a trainee / beginner within your line of work, what could they earn in salary when they start off ?
Virtually nothing. Newcomers are virtually interns. More money comes from recognition of hard work, creativity and producing communications that do the job.
What can this person expect to earn (It doesn’t have to be an exact figure, a rough guide is sufficient) after 10 years of experience?
USD 10 000 per month after taxes.
Who is your role model and why?
Old fashioned as it may seem, my late Father instilled in me the values that enable me to do what I do.
What motivates you to work this hard?
The money. That and the friendships I have formed with every assignment I have been on. I still connect via email and skype with persons I met in Qatar, Malawi, Ghana and others. If I was not willing to invest the emotional energy or the time these people would just be a memory.
What is your outlook within your industry over the next 5 years?
The sky is the limit. The demand for multimedia specialists will explode. Once international companies realise that simply extracting the resources and paying the royalties without paying attention to training and, more importantly, cultural values, the role of the specialist in this area will come into its own. In all my time working in west Africa I did not meet any other person doing what I do. When I explained my job to the management from a number of companies, mining multinationals and contractors, they all wanted my contact details. Cultural understanding, or the lack of it, is the big issue and soon governments will write some form of orientation into their license agreements.
As you know, numerous African countries are being invested in due to their rich minerals. Which country within Africa do you think will be the next hot spot and why?
Malawi is the next hot spot. It has uranium and rare earth minerals, gas and other resources. But no mining industry and very little infrastructure. Two years ago it was mired in poverty and corruption and last on the list of countries to do business with. That is changing fast. A new government and an international donor community is fixing the corruption and infrastructure. New licenses are being granted, but this time they have learnt the lessons of the rest of Africa and demanding more representation, higher return and more environmental and cultural responsibility from the multinationals. The growth off a very low base is going to be phenomenal. When I worked there I enjoyed the experience to such an extent that I am seriously considering emigration to that country.
You can view Warwick’s full LinkedIn profile here: