Evaluation: “The biscuits were soggy!”

soggy biscuit

Is it too much to ask that the learners who attend our training courses give consideration to the blood, sweat and tears (and beers!) that go into designing our programmes?

Do they acknowledge the hours of research we undertake to demonstrate that we “know our stuff”? Do they think about the careful planning and timing that goes into each of the
activities? Do they realise we’ve thought long and hard about meeting individual needs, inclusivity and different learning styles?

So, when it comes to them evaluating what we do – with our feedback forms looking for qualitative thoughts and reflection – why is it we get: “The toilets were TOO far away
from the training room…” and: “The biscuits were soggy!”??!!

Have you received any weird (yet slightly wonderful!) comments that have made you smile (or sigh with disbelief!) at the end of a training course?

Ade.

www.develop-meant.com

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The Apprenticeship Levy

It has been a while since the start of the government’s new Apprenticeship Levy scheme and it would be fair to say that it has not been entirely plain sailing.  The statistics show a 61% decrease in apprenticeship starts since May 2017, compared to the same period in 2016.  By the end of August, only half of eligible, levy-paying companies had registered to use their levy.

The roll out of the Apprenticeship Levy has been highly criticised by industry experts who, rightly it seems, claim that eligible employers did not understand the system or its application to their businesses.  Adding to the poor understanding of the ‘Levy’ is the equally misunderstood term – ‘Apprentice’.  To many the stereotypical apprentice looks something like the one in the photo: a young 16 – 18-year-old fresh out of school and starting a vocational qualification, whereas the reality is that it could be anyone 16 -64 years old, who is doing one of over 200 on-the-job learning courses to up-skill them.

Apprentice-Programme-Always-Consult

With all this confusion it seemed worth highlighting some facts surrounding the Apprenticeship Levy:

  • If you are an employer with a wage bill of £3m per annum or more then you are paying the Apprenticeship Levy.
  • The Levy is drawn down monthly (from April 2017) through the PAYE system at a rate 0.5% of your wage bill over £3m per annum.
  • It is held centrally by the government and can be used by the contributing employer to fund apprenticeship training, delivered by an approved training provider.
  • Employers have 2 years to utilise funds or they are lost.
  • An Apprentice can be someone newly hired into your organisation, specifically as an apprentice, who will undertake their training with your company as a precursor to hopefully securing a fulltime job.
  • Apprentices can also be an existing member of staff who the company wishes to upskill through the delivery of an on the job training course.
  • Develop-meant with Always Consult Ltd specialise in the delivery of on the job, leadership and management training to existing employees.  We can conduct an organisational needs analysis to identify the people that would benefit most from this training.

Perhaps most crucial of all – do not see the Apprenticeship Levy as another tax.  The money is yours to use and can buy you valuable training, that will enhance the productivity of your staff and the efficiency of your organisation.

If you would like more information or an informal chat about how apprenticeships could help your organisation, then please call Carol Ewels at Always Consult on 03334 442467 or email: apprentice@alwaysconsult.com

 

Laughable lines from learners in training sessions!

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I’ve been a trainer for the best part of 25 years. I’m STILL amazed by the lines some learners come out with in the training room, thinking me and my colleagues haven’t heard them before. Can you relate to any of these humdingers?!

A delegate barges into the training room for the first time, no introduction, the session hasn’t even started yet and asks: “What time do we finish?”

A small clique of learners sat disgruntled since 9am. YOU know you’re starting at 9:30am. Their MANAGER knows the session starts at 9:30am (he/she had an email confirming “kick off ” weeks ago). You announce: “We’ll get underway at 9:30am folks.” Only to hear: “Well, WE were told it started at 9 o’clock!”

Following Workshop 1, you set the group a task to submit and complete before the second session. It’s now Day 2 and one of the learners approaches you prior to starting and says: “Did you manage to take a look at my work that I emailed at 11.59pm last night?”

“Morning everyone! Before we start, can I just check that you’ve all printed off the workbook I sent you ten days ago via email?” Reply from at least four people: “I didn’t get your email!”

“Hi, hello! It’s Adrian is it? You’re the trainer? Yes? OK! Hmmm…would you mind if I kept my mobile phone on because, I’m SO full of my own self-importance, I’m waiting for a VERY important call and, if I don’t answer it, planet Earth will implode…?”

Slightly embarrassed, half-in-half-out-of-the-doorway: “Excuse me? Is this the session on Sexually Transmitted Infections?!”

“My Manager sent me.”

“Can I have the window open* closed* air conditioning on* air conditioning off* radiator on* radiator off* blinds up* blinds down*?” <delete as applicable!!>

Thanks for completing this evaluation form. What’s the biggest learning point you’ll take away from this training session today? “The sandwiches were rank!”

Ade.

Click here for our website!

Stop messing with your mobile!

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I had a Manager who believed that delegates should leave their phones/email alone when they were on training. This was THEIR protected time for their development, without distractions. This must have sunk in with ‘yours truly’ as my phone is off and I don’t look at it during breaks whenever I attend a course. I make staff and clients aware that I’m away, what I’m doing, “out of office” etc.

A colleague and I delivered a session this week. During a break, a delegate got her laptop out, tuned into our Wi-Fi and started working, answering emails etc. When break was over and the next activity started, she was STILL on her machine in the background! Downright rude! It called for one of us to be assertive and ask her to re-join the group.

Are mobiles a menace?!

Ade.

www.develop-meant.com

 

Oh no! I hate role play!

Role play 3

Every now and again, we include role play in some of our training sessions. More often than not, one or two learners will sigh and make it quite clear that they HATE HATE HATE role play!

One of my colleagues calls it “skills practice”. Nevertheless, however hard we try to “wrap it up” as something woolly and fluffy, for some folk, it’s like we’re asking them to walk across barbed wire!

Why do you think this is? Do you have any top tips to convince the cringers in the audience to go with it?

Ade.

http://www.develop-meant.com

The Smiling Assassin!

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You’ve had an amazing day’s training. All your fears, doubts and apprehension around whether the session would go well are unfounded. Fifteen happy learners, fully engaged. They’ve loved the content, enjoyed the activities and even laughed at your jokes!

Fifteen happy learners filling out evaluation forms – or so you thought!

<Cue scary laughter>

You review the feedback. Gasp! Fourteen happy learners and then someone I call “The Smiling Assassin”. Fourteen learners thought you were the “Torville and Dean” of trainers. HE thought you were “Eddie The Eagle Edwards”. Fourteen learners would shout from the rooftops that you’re the reincarnation of Albert Einstein. HE thought you were an extra from “The Only Way Is Essex”. Fourteen learners hung on your every word the whole day long. HE hung on for dear life!

Have you ever been faced with this situation? How did you deal with it? Did you brush the comments off? Did you approach the disgruntled delegate? How can us trainers deal with “smiling assassins”?!

Ade.

Level 3 Education and Training course goes down a storm!

PTLLS Shropshire

Our recent Level 3 Award in Education and Training course in Shropshire went down a storm with delegates. A thoroughly enjoyable and interactive workshop, covering legislation, roles and responsibilities, learning styles, facilitating group work and effective use of resources.

The next course on the timetable is the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training with induction and introductions taking place at 1:30pm on 14th July at Always Consult’s Upton Magna (Shrewsbury, West Midlands) training centre. Please note that you may know this course by its old name, DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector).

Please call 07979 525 708 or email adrian@develop-meant.com as soon as possible if you are interested in booking a place on the Level 5 Diploma as the start date grows nearer.

Here is some of the feedback received from delegates on the Level 3 day:

Excellent resources. Good balance of taught and practical activities throughout the day invaluable and practical knowledge gained.

I think both trainers were open, honest and approachable this makes the day easier and less confusing as I feel comfortable in the fact that if I am stuck help is available.

Excellent delivery which kept me engaged and interested throughout. Looking forward to the next instalment! After 3 failed attempts to start this qualification with other providers, I am already further ahead than I previously was!

I have been given a lot to reflect on and will incorporate this into my daily activities.

Does “email etiquette” exist?

email etiquette

Hi all,

As someone who runs his own business, I pride myself on my levels of efficiency and customer service. That’s why I’m often blown backwards by the way some folk handle themselves over email.

If a prospective client makes (what I believe to be) a genuine email enquiry about one of my company’s qualification programmes, I go out of my way to send them the details – way within 24 hours – putting myself in their shoes by answering the questions I think they may have.

So then, NOT to get a response, not even the slightest acknowledgement like: “Thanks Ade”, has a tendency to wind me up ever so slightly!

I’m sorry – no one is TOO busy or TOO important to spend a few seconds being courteous.

Does this get up anyone else’s nose? Are my expectations too high? Am I imposing my own values and beliefs? Is there such a thing as “email etiquette”?!

Ade.

http://www.develop-meant.com

Stranger than strange contacts!

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On Social Media, do you ever find a new Follower, or clock a new Contact and think: “Why on Earth have they chosen to link up with me?!”

Whether it’s a balloon-bender from Bolton, or a butler-in-the-buff from Brighton, there are times when the folk who want to be “part of my gang” make no sense whatsoever! To be fair, when I started out on Social Media, I probably did the same. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and assumed that the more “Likes” or “Friends” I had, the more popular I’d appear and the more the phone would ring, or my email would ping with offers of work. Wrong!

Over the last couple of days, I’ve reflected on how I use Social Media and who I’d like to be in my troop. For a training and consultancy service such as mine, Linkedin has reaped rewards in terms of hooking-up with long-lost colleagues, showcasing what I do and bringing in business. I’ve happily sought out other professionals with a vested interest in careers guidance and working with children, young people and adults in the hope they’ll be just a wee bit interested in what I post.

My question is – what do you “do” with your list of contacts? Do they just sit there looking lovely, or, do you actively engage with them, promote and market what you do? Do they respond to that? I often worry it feels a bit like “cold emailing” and that gets up people’s noses.

I run a Linkedin Group for professionals in the Career Guidance sector. It’s very rare I shout from the rooftops what I do. I’ve seen other forums become choc-a-block full of self-promoting posts and I wouldn’t want that. However, of late, I HAVE promoted an exclusive qualification discount for staff who are members. Even THEN I felt a bit cheeky!

Am I just being overly sensitive? Some online gurus would say: “Well, these people CHOSE to be one of your contacts and it IS “social media”, therefore, they need to be sociable!”

Your thoughts  please?

Ade.

“Thank you for flying Adrian Airlines!”

An ex-colleague of mine used to say that us trainers are a bit like actors. Regardless of how we’re feeling on the day, we stand at the front and perform! I regularly liken myself to an air steward when I’m delivering a training session. For up to seven hours on this long-haul “flight” I ensure I’m:

  • All “eyes and teeth, eyes and teeth”
  • Making my “passengers” aware of health and safety procedures
  • Fulfilling basic human needs
  • Keeping a keen eye on folk who are a little highly strung
  • Asking one or two bods to stop playing with their mobile phones
  • Dealing with people’s “baggage” !!

Can you relate to my analogy? Have you any of your own?