Sally McEllistrim talks with NCBI’s IT Trainer, Miriam Kelly.
Miriam Kelly is animated as she describes her work in the NCBI. As an IT Trainer Miriam is tasked with providing training and support to the many service users who use technology in their day-to-day working and personal lives.
“It is a challenging role but one I relish.” she says, “I take great pride in seeing people’s lives transformed when they get to grips with technology, it really opens the world to them, giving them more autonomy and choice”.
Miriam came to work for NCBI in 2011 after enjoying a very successful career providing training to companies and organisations in the North East. Her initial six month contract turned into a permanent position and now seven years on, she says she still gets great joy out of coming to work in NCBI.
“Things worked out perfectly and I continue to love my job. No two days are the same, there is wonderful variety. I work as part of the technical team. I liaise with a lot of other colleagues in NCBI. For example, I am in constant contact with the Community Resource Workers as they are often the first point of contact with our service users. I also work with our Employment Advisor carrying out Assistive Technology Assessments and reports that will enable service users to maintain their employment or seek a new role. Then a lot of my time is actually spent behind the scenes devising and developing training programmes and producing hand–outs and other learning resources.”
“I install computer equipment — hardware and software and set up home networks, then provide the technical training to compliment this. I also provide training and support on a range of assistive technologies and an increasing range of mainstream technology including PCs, laptops, tablets, phones and digital book players. We provide remote access as well and I go to people’s work places; it is really multi-facetted”.
It is also a very fast moving area and Miriam says she believes that the NCBI IT team is one of the most technically savvy in the country.
“We have to be,” she says. “adding, a vision impairment or total sight loss involves a whole new set of complexity and challenges which demand that the IT Trainers at NCBI maintain a high level of knowledge and expertise. The rapid changes in technology mean we are in a continual state of change. Keeping up with every aspect of technology is paramount in ensuring we provide the best service. It is tough, but highly rewarding.”
The rewards come as people blossom under Miriam’s tutorage and learn to trust her and themselves. “It is great to see people pushing the boundaries, getting over their fears of technology and really getting into it.”
“Trust is paramount. I go to people’s homes as well as their places of work and they have to suss me out and learn to trust me. Once this is established we can move mountains!
— My job satisfaction is off the scale!”