01 May 2008
Do you need further training?
by Suzanne Collier
People often assume that when they talk to me they will end up changing employers but this is not always the case. More often than not, I help people identify their own changing needs and training requirements to enable them to stay and progress their career within the same company – particularly when their employer may not have a formalised training and development structure.
I also coach people who have received professional training and want to incorporate and maintain these skills in their every day routine, as well as help those who are facing workplace issues such as bullying, work-related stress or people who are going through the redundancy process.
1. When was the last time you went on a training course?
A. Less than 6 months ago
B. Less than a year but more than 6 months
C. Between one and two years
D. Two years or more
2. What was the content of your last training course?
A. Publishing Skills (e.g. Editorial, Marketing)
B. Personal Skills (e.g. Time Management, Personal Development)
C. Technology Skills (e.g. Excel, Powepoint, InDesign, Photoshop)
D. I can’t remember
E. I’ve never been on a training course
3. When is the next time you are having training?
A. Within the next 6 months
B. Within the next year
C. Within the next two years
D. Sometime, maybe
4. Who takes responsibility for ensuring you are trained?
B. Me and My manager
C. Human Resources
D. No one
E. Don’t Know
5. Training is something that
A. Needs to be ongoing
B. Needs to happen at least once a year
C. Needs to happen whenever a big change happens to my job
D. Never needs to happen
E. Happens at the gym
With technology influencing an ever-increasing part of the publishing process and traditional publishing roles being ‘blended’ (Editorial, Production, Sales and Marketing all overlapping), it is crucial that you sit up and take note of the changes happening in the world around you, before you find that you and your employer become publishing dinosaurs. This applies whether you are working for a literary publisher who is being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century or an academic publisher at the forefront of new technology. You also need to be advancing your ‘traditional’ training too – skills such as Time Management have taken on a whole new meaning as a number of us still do not understand how to manage emails before they manage you.
In other industries that rely on professional qualifications, it is usual practice to have professional training at least once a year in order to keep your qualifications valid. Why should publishing be any different? In order to keep your skills up to date, you should attend at least one training course a year, and supplement this with ongoing training, by keeping up with current trends.
So how do you identify your own training needs?
Here is one quick way to do identify your training needs. Hunt out your job description and take at least a 20 minute break away from your desk and read through it. How much of it is still in terms of technology and skill? If you were applying for your job today what skills would you consider essential? Are there any that were in your original job description that are still valid, yet you still have not perfected? What tasks do you struggle at? What do you need to learn in order to improve? Where is your employer going? What do you think will be the ‘next big thing’? You should by now have a list of things that will enable you to look through the Publishing Training Centre's courses; aim to identify at least three – one to ‘polish up’ your skills, one to train you in something you are doing already, and one to train you for the future.
I realise that if you are reading this, I’m probably preaching to the converted, but the truth is so evident. If you are not taking responsibility for your own career path and training, then you are unlikely to be advancing as quickly as your peers, your employer may not be as successful as they should be, and your job may be at risk. Everyone has a part to play in the success of their employer, and you should do this to the best of your ability. Make sure that your abilities are first class by taking control of your own training needs.
How did you score on our quiz?
You are a winner! You should treat yourself to lunch at the Ivy, as no doubt your employer has realised what an asset you are to the company.
You are on the right track but need to keep an eye that you don’t slip further down the scale. Treat yourself to lunch at Pizza Express and think about ways in which you can take better control of your own training needs.
You have sporadic moments of thinking training is essential but then get distracted by the next meeting in your diary. (If you’d had professional Time Management training, this wouldn’t happen). So, as per usual, have lunch at your desk but this time view the latest course offering from the Publishing Training Centre whilst eating your sandwich. Book the dates for your chosen course before you make your next cup of coffee.
There is still hope for you. Look at the latest course offering from the Publishing Training Centre and identify at least two courses that you need to take within the next 12 months. Ensure your employer treats you to at least one of them!
No doubt you’ll be seeing me for redundancy counselling in the near future! All is not lost, though; take some serious time to review your own training needs and then work your way through the PTC brochure.