Welcome to the first LAURUS Development blog. Every few months one of the team will offer their thoughts and reflections on activity they have been involved in or subjects which interest them across the Justice and Learning and Development sectors. We hope you enjoy our musings and feel free to comment.
Always a Privilege – Seldom a Chore
Spend your days in front of a room full of people, often having to think on your feet, without a script while making sure people learn something? Not a chance. That’s too scary for me.
Words to that effect are often what I hear when people talk to me about my career as a trainer. Thankfully for me, the challenge they would fear is what I relish. Partly, it is the show-off in me (which craves the attention) but more than that, it is my desire to support people to be better in their jobs.
I left ‘front line’ Probation work because the lure of learning and development had always been strong. The desire to help the helpers continues to be both appealing and rewarding. The work people do in supporting some of the most vulnerable, marginalised or risky people in our communities is vital. The fact I can support and develop them in giving their best, makes me feel that I can always add value; even if it is only indirectly.
A couple of months ago, the team did a piece of work looking at the training and qualification products we have developed in recent years. It was surprising how much development had taken place to increase the range of services and support we offer our learners. In 2017 alone we have worked on 22 new products including workshops, enquiry based learning programmes, new training events and qualification methodologies. For my own part, a couple of pieces of work really stand out. I was lucky enough to develop good practice workshops on ‘Risk and Sentence Planning’ and ‘Recalls To Custody.’ These workshops weren’t necessarily about teaching new skills and enhancing process knowledge. They were focussed on pushing existing workers to drive up the quality of what they offer to both their service users and the organisations they work for.
I often take a very hands-on approach to such workshops by devising fictional but challenging case studies for learners to utilise in producing examples of their work. I also ensure that both trainer assessment and peer critique are included. Often a neutral trainer and/or a colleague telling you what is good and bad about your work is more productive feedback and easier to accept. This type of learning is rewarding; especially when you see learners being given much needed space to reflect, share ideas and improve.
So as the blog title suggests, 2017 has been another year of privilege for me in supporting others to learn; particularly when last week over lunch a learner said,
‘The training you deliver is always good. It’s always useful and I always leave feeling I’ve learned something I can take back with me to use in the job.’
That will do for me.