It’s a hard night’s day for Kiwi worker downunder

Andrew Stanford is proof that technology means you really can work from anywhere: a New Zealander working the "nightshift" as a trainer for British company ICL while sitting in the New Zealand sun.

As Andrew Stanford sits eating lunch on his deck, looking out at the sunny garden of his Auckland home, a computer in the lounge bleeps and he goes indoors to see who’s entered his virtual classroom.

Stanford is proof that technology means you really can work from anywhere: a New Zealander working the “nightshift” as a trainer for British company ICL while sitting in the New Zealand sun. A Microsoft-certified trainer, Stanford can train students in VB, SQL Server, Java and Visual J++. Before Christmas, he was working for ICL in the UK doing the same job, but during the day.

“Then they announced that they wanted to start offering a 24-hour service, and I wanted to move back to New Zealand. When I first suggested doing it from here they weren’t sure — there’s still that feeling of wanting you there in the office, under a manager’s eye. But it’s hard to find trainers with my level of experience, so in the end I persuaded them — and here I am.” His job is part of a three-year training project, by the end of which ICL hopes to have 3000 Microsoft-certified systems engineers and 1000 Microsoft solution developers.

“My job is to help them pass by monitoring 24 different classrooms. It can be a challenge — you’ll be answering a VB question one minute, networking the next: I’ve had four different conversations going on at a time, all on different topics. But it keeps you on your toes.” Stanford is also involved in improving CD-ROM training programs, proofreading the planned scripts and pointing out errors, ambiguities and ways of making them more student-friendly.

“I think this is the way things will go in future, in terms of both work style and training methods,” he says. “More and more people will work from home, and a lot of training will be computer-based.”

Stanford owns his own equipment, and bills ICL in pounds sterling through a company he has set up in the UK. A satellite dish gives him a high-speed connection and monitors in different rooms allow him to move around his house during the day without missing any students who “visit” his class.

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