Grow your own skills

It seems the recession is changing habits across the board – second-hand is repackaged as vintage, what used to be make-do-and-mend is now known as recycling, and so on.

Businesses have to economise just as householders do, and if you’re a manager holding the purse strings, you will be looking ahead to see how much value you can get for every penny of your training budget.

At a time when my garden-minded friends are once again turning over their vegetable-gardening-1plots and allotments, can I remind you that Growing Your Own doesn’t only apply to runner beans and spuds! If some people in your organisation lack certain skills and others have them, consider how you can grow capacity from within.

A common complaint from managers charged with sourcing training for their team members is: “There are no suitable courses for us!” By this, they either mean that there is nothing specifically tailored to their sector or there are no courses available that precisely reflect their company’s own practices. By putting in place good internal training, they ensure that what is delivered is relevant and practical – and that it can be followed up and refreshed as needed.

One organisation we worked with had its offices the length and breadth of Scotland. The organisation introduced a web-based system for managing its customer contacts and sales, and we delivered training to around 80 people, working with small groups and following up with distance learning refresher sessions. This worked well in terms of the learning, but it was expensive for the organisation. As updated versions of the system were released, it was necessary to repeat the process… and so on.

By contrast an electronics company, as part of the implementation of its new MI software had selected a team of people from different departments to be in-house trainers. They were involved in learning and testing the new system and the trainer training gave them the tools to share what they had learned with their colleagues. Many people enjoy learning to train Рit gives them confidence in their own abilities, as well as the satisfaction of communicating their knowledge, skills and experience to others. Added value all round!

When does good communication not add value? Certainly, the development of in-house training programmes works very successfully in the voluntary sector, manufacturing companies, the hospitality industry and organisations who employ people with English as a second language.

For more information on selecting and developing in-house trainers, contact us at or call on 07834 706553.