Passing on his knowledge
Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter
Seems Anthony Bryan is taking the mantra 'each one teach one' literally. Bryan, now 40, is a regular teacher at LIME Foundation's Web Design Summer Camp. Always the 'techie', his journey into cyberworld really took off years ago when someone he knew at LIME (then Cable and Wireless Jamaica), encouraged him to attend a computer programme at the Maverley Life Care and Training Centre.
"I guess I was one of the bright sparks," he jokes. "But after that finished, they asked me if I could come back and run the centre." Bryan jumped at the chance and was the lab administrator. After that, Bryan kept himself busy teaching information technology at various locations, including the Transforming Life Training Centre. His students were mostly young people, but there was no age limit.
"It was a HEART Trust-oriented course, but some people said, 'Look, I just want to learn how to use computers'," he recalled. "I had grandmothers in my class who their children bought them computers, but they didn't know how to use them." Five years ago, LIME approached Bryan as the web design summer camp was taking shape. Bryan didn't hesitate. He admits the technology has advanced, and there are numerous templates students can use to create websites. But somebody still has to show them how to make the sites attractive and produce the type of content that will gain views.
Potential to earn
Bryan explained that the students are admitted in two groups; the first few weeks are for ages 13 to 16, and then there's a 17-21-year-old group. The skills learned can potentially earn them good money. The students post their sites on Google AdSense, a programme run by the Internet giant. This grants access to viewers globally.
"Once someone clicks on that site, Google pays you money," he explained. Some students are even using their skills to build websites for their parents' businesses. The youth come from all over, but particularly from circumstances where they may not be able to afford to pay for courses offering this level of expertise. There is a competition-type aspect to the summer camp as well.
"The main aim is to have fun, but at the end of the classes, the top-three sites get prizes," Bryan explained. The range of prior knowledge among the students varies; some were creating websites before.
"But some say, 'Sir, I don't have a computer. I have never even turned on a computer'," he said. "But even the ones with experience still have much to learn." He said he's very heartened when he runs into past students who are doing their own thing and earning a living. As for his own goals, Bryan is working on a website where persons overseas can purchase craft items online. His goal is to start with Jamaican products and then maybe move on to the wider Caribbean. He got the idea because he was tired of the high prices he had to pay for such items when overseas.
"So with this website, persons can order them and it wouldn't cost them as much," he said. But despite his own endeavours, he is going to keep teaching and giving back. He has a full-time job at ACCENT Marketing Ja Ltd, local subsidiary of ACCENT Marketing Services, which provides outsourced customer engagement solutions across voice, online, and social media for brands. But Bryan ensured he was present for the web design summer camp. He's also trying to get the computer lab of the Pembroke Hall Youth Club back up and running and is in talks with LIME to make it happen.
"It's not what I do (giving back); it's what I am," he said. "I love community work."