Train the Trainers Program

I’ve been quite busy lately. Working on a maintenance project with a pretty passive client, that’s something new. Most of the time it’s me who find ways to keep myself busy in the office. That involves sending emails to my client inquiring about certain things they need to get fixed; and also to my superiors inquiring about audit findings or anything in the company’s standard operating procedures that the project could be missing, so I can work on it. I also do some self studying on new technologies partly to satisfy my want for knowledge and partly to have more choices in future projects. But in the past week I didn’t have to do that.

The week before last, our practice manager came to my workstation and ask a simple question, “Do you want to be a trainer?” I answered “yes” right away. Truth is I always wanted to teach/train people. I really don’t know why, but I just love that feeling that you get to share what you know to other people and they would look up to you saying inside their heads that “I learned these from this guy.” But it was not a simple yes. I also mentioned that I may not qualify. In reply he told me that there will be a qualification for the position so I shouldn’t worry. And that I did. In my head all was very simple. If I know the topic I’ll get the job. If I don’t, they will surely find someone else.

But when Friday came, one of the employees under the learning and development group came to my workstation and informed me that there will be a meeting in thirty minutes. I said “okay” cooly. I was thinking that we were only going to be advised on how to properly conduct a training and all that guidelines. I didn’t know it was going to be far beyond that. In the meeting we were told that we would undergo a special training not just to learn the effective training approach but also to ultimately pass the accreditation by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). My jaw almost dropped. I didn’t know it would be as serious as that.

Still I didn’t back out. It was daunting at first but when it finally sank in to me, I realized it was a great opportunity to hone my training skills. Perhaps it would be a great plus too considering the fact that I was already contemplating on applying for a lecturer’s position in the university on weekends.

We were told that training days will be on Tuesdays for the next two months. But normally, the training for the accreditation takes seventeen weeks, eight hours a day. Apparently we’re going to cram things because being full time workers, we couldn’t afford that much time. It would be a dead serious cramming I must say with a reading material reaching more than two hundred and fifty pages for just one of the five areas we got to learn. That is already not mentioning that the reading materials voluminous as they are, are already pretty straight forward on discussing things.

Monday came and another surprise came just as I thought I was done with all of it when I agreed to take the challenge in the previous week. I checked my company email and found out about an email sent late the previous Friday telling all trainers to prepare a five-minute discussion of a simple topic for the audition to be done that day, Monday. Again, I was shocked. I was not prepared in any way. We were advised to prepare a powerpoint presentation and dress up. It was also mentioned that we should be able to finish the discussion of our chosen topics within the allotted time. As trainers we should be able to do that.

For a minute or two, I didn’t know what to do. Unlike other participants in the program, I never handled a training before. I don’t have any material in mind from which I could get a good topic I could squeeze into a five-minute discussion. I totally had nothing related to our practice (the Microsoft practice) to discuss. But then I reread the email and notice that there were no instructions telling that the topic should be related to our practice. That was when I got a brilliant idea. I decided to discuss something I worked on during the weekend, the sprite animation tutorial which I even posted here.

I was nervous about the audition almost the whole day but everything went well when I finally got to present my topic. In fact, I got a good feedback which made me happy and proud inside.

The following day I attended the first day of training where we talked about competency based training and learned how to prepare information gathering sheets, training needs analysis forms, and session plans. It was totally enjoyable and helpful. I could already visualize how effective the training will be following that approach. But all the topics just won’t fit in a day no matter how hard they try to simplify things just emphasizing on the most important portions of our extremely voluminous references. As much as we don’t want it, we have to read and study some of the details on our own. Seriously, it could eat a great amount of time from company hours. But I’m usually not that busy like what I said earlier so it was fine for me. I just do not know of the others.

Next week will be day two. I’m looking forward to learning more. But for now, I’m done with surprises. No more surprises this time please. -aB

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