So you need to Hire a Trainer? – Qualifications and Skills or a lack there of.
November 27, 2012 4 Comments
My recent post on the issues raised by the Review of Standards for the Regulation of VET around the area of Minimum qualifications levels for trainers has raised some interesting issues and quite a bit of chatter, so I thought I might make some further comments around some of the more interesting areas, and look at it more particularly through the lens of someone needing to hire a Trainer/Assessor.
The first thing I found interesting was the number of people we suggested they either knew of or had experienced the situation where the people training the Certificate IV in TAE (or an old version), had only just completed their own Cert IV, or whose experience in terms of training and assessment was all related to the TAE. So essentially they had become a trainer to trainer other people how to be trainers. If I was hiring a new trainer, even one whose job role was going to be training and assessing TAE qualifications I would want them to have some other training experience, other than just training the TAE. If I did then decide that I wanted to bring them in for an interview, my first question would be so why did you want to be a trainer, why did you go down this career path? The reason is that I am not sure how you could decide that you wanted to train people to be trainers without first having been a trainer yourself. (I might be wrong, but it seems a bit weird to me). I could understand if their response was that they been delivering non-accredited training for a substantial period of time, but even then it would be need to be outside the training area, because (and again I might be wrong here) it would seem that developing presentation skills, and the like happen as a result of training people, not as a result of being trained. If there is someone out there for whom the vast majority of their experience in terms of Training relates to training others to be trainers, particularly in their early career I would love to hear how and why it was you decided on this career path.
The other thing that came out of the discussions was the number of people who, had undertaken, knew of, experienced the result of, TAE training with no presentation component. Where there was no requirement for the participants to actually stand up in front of an audience and present material. Again this is a situation that I find bizarre; how is it possible to deem someone as competent to be a trainer, if you have never seem them present training to a group of people. This is why whenever I have interviews for trainers, everyone is told that they will need to do a 15 minute presentation to the interview panel. They get to choose the topic, but presenting is mandatory and it is the first thing they do before anything else takes place in the interview. The reason for this is simple, if you can’t stand up in front of a small group of strangers and talk about a subject of your own choosing for 15 minutes and do it well, then as far as I am concerned you shouldn’t be a trainer. It is to my mind as simple as that. There are two things about this process that have always amazed me;
- The number of people who look good on paper who are challenged by this process, who ask questions like ‘what do you want me to present on? To which I answer ‘Anything you want it’s not about what you present by how you do it. Others then suggest that they are not comfortable with the process, that they have never had to do that before to get a job, etc. (I usually suggest at that point that if they are that uncomfortable presenting to people that they are probably not right for the job anyway and that unless they are happy to do the presentation then there won’t be an interview.)
- The number of people who are awful presenters, I don’t just mean ordinary, run of the mill, functionally competent or even nervous, it mean really awful. Boring, uninteresting, full of um’s, ah’s and something I am seeing more of ‘like’s’, not confident, and the worse sin of all, given that they got to choose the topic, inaccurate, mistaken or wrong with the information they provide.
Sitting through interviews like this is an enlightening if quite challenging experience, because you come to know that for all of the good, high quality trainers out there, who are way beyond competent and who can create learning environments no matter what their surroundings there are a whole lot of people who call themselves trainers and have pieces of paper attesting to their competence who are just awful and an embarrassment to the industry.