... Unfortunatley I often feel that my collegaues have forgotten what it's like to be completely new to the mainframe world and don't understand the best bottom up approach to learning.
I realise this is slightly off topic but any advice/tips or hints would be greatly appreciated
You're right about us old dinosaurs not being especially understanding of new people. Part of the trouble is TSO, CLIST and Rexx didn't exist in 1968 when I started and the methods we learned in 1968 were batch oriented. Many data set manipulation techniques we learned are now done through TSO, or use IDCAMS if done in batch. In 1968, the use of catalogs was rare, and the tools to analyze catalog issues were primitive to non-existent; in any event none of the methods used in 1968 work in 2013. That's part of the problem.
Another part of the problem is the sheer volume of material a system programmer does now was mostly learned in in a chaotic and unstructured manner. It is difficult for people untrained in structuring unstructured knowledge - most, if not all of us - to present this to new people. For example, in the 1960s and 1970s, system programmers did what were called SYSGENs to prepare systems. Most of the time a SYSGEN was done to update the I/O device configuration. Now this is done through IODF and HCD; MVS establishes the I/O configuration by analyzing the control data established by IODF and HCD, so I/O gens are long forgotten history. The product installation and configuration tasks once performed by SYSGEN are now done by tools like SMP/E. So this knowledge is now 6 feet / 2 meters under.
I hope you appreciate the difficulties you will encounter, as well as the difficulties of the old timer you may question have in responding to your need.
Well, good luck.