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Image 3:  Complex qualifications for several enterprises 

The task is characterised by

  • some enterprises being well-known and others being unknown among the customers
  • including medium sized and small enterprises with no tradition of planning training activities
  • having irregular intakes of participants
  • requiring two courses in electronics
 The preparation phase

An enterprise contacts the AMU-centre, asking to enrol two employees in a qualifying training course within electronics. The reception put the firm through to Anne, the course administrator within electronics. As a basis for further working, Anne asks for the enterprise to nominate a specific contact person within the firm. As time went on Anne has gained experience in handling the irregular intake of participants to the open workshop which is used as the usual training approach of training within electronics.

Anne has agreed with the autonomous group of trainers that she should gradually take over this task of obtaining the central information about the enterprise; information which the trainers can use later on in their detailed preparation.

The next day Anne calls the firm in order to get information about the participants' backgrounds and the enterprise's production and products. She talks to the contact person, to one of the potential participants and the nearest superior. She makes use of an interview guide which helps her to structure the dialogue with the enterprise.

It transpires that the employees are going to run an automatic SMD-machine (surface mounted device). Anne asks the firm to forward a drawing or a product made on the automatic SMD-machine. At the same time she asks the supervisor about how they intend to use the employees' new skills.

Anne proposes at the same time a follow-up talk after the course. Such a follow-up talk has become normal procedure; especially as the enterprises usually are uncertain regarding the precise purpose of what the employees are going to learn and the content of the different courses.

Anne forwards the information she has obtained to the trainers - Jacob and Peter - using short notes which follow the structure of the interview guide. Jacob and Peter will use this for preparing the training.

The training phase

The open workshop model is chosen within the electronics unit because usually there are few participants from each enterprise. The advantage of using the open workshop is the possibility of running several different courses at the same time in the same workshop - courses which all the trainers are qualified to run.

It is very seldom necessary to cancel courses due to too few participants. This certainly is appreciated by the enterprises.

At the first day of the course the participants bring drawings and products. Jacob and his colleagues have eight different firms represented in the open workshop this week, and four of these have brought examples of drawings and products. 

The trainers have discussed in the autonomous group how important the opening session of the course is in establishing a firm foundation for a successful learning process. They have given each other ideas on how to avoid the most ritual part of traditional presentation rounds. They agree that the very first hours of a training process are crucial for the participants' engagement. Jacob asks very specifically for the individual participants' wishes and expectations for the training. He makes the participants explain how they expect to make use of the training in the work place. The participants' expectations turn out to be very different.

Elucidating the different perspectives is important in respect of tailoring the course and ensuring real integration. Later on in the training process the participants experience how effectively Jacob is able to relate the content of the training directly to what they have said in the opening session. At the same time they have got some points for use in their talks with other participants during the training.

At appropriate stages in the schedule, Jacob uses the drawings and the products which the participants have brought. In general, everyone benefits from these examples. They find the training more interesting when they can relate the training to their work.

The trainers also have agreed on drawing up a log book for each participant. In this they can for instance point out where the individual participant needs a little extra time, or where they might have the possibility of working with more challenging tasks. The log book also helps the trainers to provide an overview of their tasks in the open workshop - not least when they 'hand over' the participants to each other during the training process.

The follow-up phase

Usually, Jacob and his colleagues use the last part of the day to discuss how the participants can make use of their newly acquired knowledge when they return to their daily work. They discuss how the participants themselves can influence the possibility of using the new skills.

For each of the participants a kind of individual contract is made. This has the purpose of making themselves responsible for using the skills. Jacob and the participants agree to give the nearest superior a copy of the contract.

Jacob and his colleagues take turns in carrying out the follow-up phase. They consider who has had most contact with the employees from a specific enterprise during the training process, and whether it be OK in terms of the training schedule that one of them is away for a while. It is preferable for the teacher who has been involved in making the individual contract with the participant to be the person who is responsible for undertaking the follow-up process.

In this case Jacob calls the supervisor to hear his opinion. Jacob offers to pay a two-hour visit to the enterprise in order to put the employees into action at the automatic SMD-machine and to follow-up on the individual contract. The supervisor finds this a good idea. He suggests another employee, whom he would like to follow a similar training, to attend this session. 

When Jacob called the other enterprises from the open workshop, two appeared to have similar wishes.

(Bruno Clematide 2000)

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  First set up: 30/11/2000
Latest update: 30/11/2000
 Contact: Sabine Manning
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