The newly launched Asikhule Training Partners, the corporate training arm of the Academy of Sound Engineering (ASE), offers training to audio, video and broadcast professionals of all skill levels who are already working in the African film industry.

Until late 2011 ASE, one of South Africa’s leading higher-education sound engineering institutions, offered corporate technology training through its own structures.

Though successful and well-received by the broadcast industry, it became clear to founding directors Keith Davies, Tinus Smit and Duncan Todd that there were number of essential differences between the ASE core business – a sound school for school leavers entering the industry – and the more bespoke approach required by the demanding broadcast and production corporate market.

Asikhule’s training aims to improve creativity and productivity using world-class content and hands-on delivery. Training is usually done at the clients’ own facilities, to ensure it is relevant to the staff and technology available. For maximum impact and cost-effectiveness, courses are tailored to the client’s needs, whether the training requirement is for an individual, a small team, or a large group.

“We understand the demands of workplace training where the need is for hands-on, practical leverage of the technology, rather than just learning the specifics of a particular technology or system,” says Todd. “Our aim is to improve productivity across the team, delivering enhanced morale and job satisfaction that underpins a tangibly more professional on-the-job performance.”

Asikhule’s strength is in its team’s diversity and depth of experience in the corporate training market. “Our team includes some of the best industry practitioners around: qualified producers, engineers, editors and consultants still active in the industry themselves, who have collectively accumulated hundreds of man years of successful hands-on experience in their area of specialty,” says Todd.

“Our trainers have a high level of credibility because not only are we experienced teachers, we are all active in the industry ourselves, and thus familiar with day-to-day on-the-job challenges.”

In demand as a trainer in corporate audio engineering, Todd is also an AVID-certified Pro Tools expert instructor with a passion for developing the South African industry.

Davies is a widely experienced audio engineer and trainer with well-earned reputation in the South African broadcast and recording industries. This reputation is core to the value Asikhule offers the Africa market.

Asikhule is the realisation of a long-cherished dream for Davies: a diverse and talented team helping the African production and broadcast industries achieve the recognition they deserve, as a creative, technically competent force in the world of media production and broadcast.

Smit is a popular service provider, well known within the South African broadcast and media production communities. He began his broadcast career at the SABC, moving on to the TV division of the South African Air Force. After a thorough grounding in technical directing and vision mixing for multi-cam events, linear editing, VT operations, lighting and camera work, Smit earned his reputation as a multiskilled operator with the power to turn around technical team morale and fire up staff to new levels of productivity.

Corporate leaders in this tough, evolving industry seek enhanced proficiency, professionalism and productivity when they invest in training. Asikhule see up-front assessments and detailed progress reports as essential. Learners, in addition, hope for recognition and, where possible, formal qualifications, which add to their motivation and improve their employability. Besides assessments and certification, Asikhule offers international accreditation programmes from companies like Apple and AVID.

UK-based Neil Garner who has become an important member of the Asikhule team, bringing his extensive international broadcast and training experience as well as his calm, can-do approach.

He is not only a qualified sound engineer with he sought-after Tonmeister degree from the University of Surrey – where his friendship with Asikhule founder Keith Davies – he’s also a qualified teacher.

A key contributor to the team is Sifiso Vundla, something of a Pro Tools prodigy, having become the youngest ever certified Pro Tools Expert at the age of 19. Having benefited from his grounding at SABC and some valuable international exposure to major film and audio production, Sifiso is now deployed nationally training broadcasters and production professionals in audio technologies.

Other members of the team include Wayne Ervine, who, like many engineers, has been fascinated with technology from a young age. He began his professional sound engineering career at the deep end, managing a sound stage at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg as well as other live sound events. Ervine also has extensive experience in the design and management of audio installation projects.

Another ASE talent involved in Asikhule is Etienne Kruger, a gifted sound engineer with expertise beyond his years. Etienne also currently lectures for his alma mater, ASE. He is not only unusually tech-savvy, he’s a self starter.

To begin with, he taught himself Pro Tools. Not content with that, Etienne later went on to study formally with AVID courseware, attaining the rare distinction of Pro Tools Expert certification. As a Certified Pro Tools instructor, Etienne today teaches on a wide range of audio-related subjects.

Gray Burnett, a gifted music producer, recording and mix engineer and certified Pro Tools Expert offers media technology training within the ASE, is now extensively involved in delivering broadcast and other audio and video training for Asikhule.

Then there’s Boipelo Molwela who, after graduating through the prestigious ASE, went on to become a certified Pro Tools 210P Operator – and one of ASE’s youngest-ever lecturers.

“With training for producers, directors, DOPs and editors Asikhule has many offerings targeted at improving productivity and workflow for the industry professional as well as for the newcomer starting out in these fields,” says Todd. “Our experienced and energetic team brings this training to life.”

“Asikhule offers not only vendor-driven training and certification from Dolby, Apple and AVID, but we are also able to tailor specific content around your existing work environment and technology configurations, pitching content targeted specifically for your organisation’s needs.

“Asikhule courses range from audio user, operator and expert Pro Tools certifications across music, post production, gaming and ICON work surfaces, through to hands-on live music production using digital mixers or the VENUE system. We are involved in many areas, such as outside broadcast trucks, studio drama or news production environments, live events, post facilities and film sets. We are moving into video with Final Cut and AVID Media Composer offerings delivered by certified trainers in these specialist picture edit disciplines.

“Again our focus here will be to differentiate the offering by delivering training tailored to the technology environment and skills levels in each situation with an emphasis on making the technology work for the business, rather than having the business adapt to the technology.

“In conjunction and close collaboration with our sister organisation ASE, we are even able to offer part-time higher certificate and diploma courses in audio technology for employees and interns seeking accredited and globally recognised qualifications able to commit to the demanding part-time schedule alongside their existing workloads.”

Todd concludes: “If we don’t have the course you are looking for, please just get in touch and we will be happy to talk about setting up something specifically for you. We believe in offering a bespoke service that is work-place specific. It’s not just theory, it’s more a case of ‘What have I got and what do I want to do with it?’ – we come in and provide a training solution tailored to your needs.”

Asikhule have already trained teams from the broadcasters SABC and MNet as well as from several major local production facilities. They and are also in the process of expanding their services to Namibia and Nigeria.

For further information get in touch with Asikhule to discuss your specific broadcast, media production or entertainment technology training needs, phone Keith on (+27) 071 671 7703 or email