RIMC Johannesburg develops online training initiative

From left: Information Management Technical Specialist Derrick Brooks records a video of Johannesburg’s Regional Information Management Center Branch Chief Eddie Davis as he gives instructions on how to install a vehicle-mounted radio for his online class. Photo by Jared Bowe
From left: Information Management Technical Specialist Derrick Brooks records a video of Johannesburg’s Regional Information Management Center Branch Chief Eddie Davis as he gives instructions on how to install a vehicle-mounted radio for his online class. Photo by Jared Bowe

By Jared Bowe

The signatures were barely dry on the telework agreements when Regional Information Management Center (RIMC) Johannesburg’s Branch Chief Eddie Davis and Information Management Technical Specialist (IMTS) Derrick Brooks recognized that the way they provided customer service had to change. The ongoing pandemic had grounded them. RIMC Johannesburg provides technical and operational assistance to 32 posts in the Africa region on all information management programs. In normal times, the technicians often provide this assistance on-site and with short notice. It is not unheard of for one of their technicians to travel 75 percent of the time. 

Knowing that posts would need support during the pandemic, Davis and Brooks brainstormed ideas to assist while overcoming the inability to travel. They came up with a plan to provide online training for post’s most requested support items. They presented this idea to the rest of RIMC Johannesburg, and it grew from there. Soon each member of their team had developed and contributed curriculum for this new Online Training Initiative. Training is offered on such topics as MobileX setup, vehicle radio installation, and network switch upgrades. 

IMTS Jared Bowe hosted the first class “MobileX: Just the Basics” in September. More than 40 people attended the class representing more than 20 posts. RIMC already sees the benefits of their virtual initiative. 

“Great class this morning,” said Brian Middleton, an information management specialist at Embassy Gaborone in Botswana who attended one of the classes. “It gave me a few ideas on what might be wrong with our MobileX.” 

Middleton later reported to RIMC Johannesburg that he could fix those long-standing MobileX issues using what he learned in the class. 

With two more classes scheduled, more on the way, and plans to open the classes up to a broader audience, it’s clear that RIMC Johannesburg has found a way to support diplomacy despite being grounded. 

Jared Bowe is an information management technical specialist at the Regional Information Management Center in Johannesburg.