If there is one thing that we have all got better at over the last two years it is training and for that I think we should all be thankful.
Just a few years back people seemed to be split very firmly into three camps with regards to training – the believers, the ones that would be interested if they had time and the people that know everything anyway. Yes, unfortunately there are still people who truly believe they know everything – and there isn’t a lot that we can do for them! But for everyone else training has really taken off.
It was an absolute delight to attend the Electrical Distributors’ Association (EDA) dinner recently – and not just because I was actually out, at an live (not virtual) event, meeting real people! The highlight for me was the mention of the EDA Learning Achievement Awards which were presented the day after the dinner. Now in their eighth year they are what can only be described as a celebration of very talented individuals and it was great to see this celebration of training taking place. The Awards were presented to individuals from both manufacturer and wholesaler businesses who have delivered an outstanding performance in either the EDA’s Product Knowledge Programme or in an apprenticeship.
Training is a subject which is very close to my heart because it is the one single thing which makes our industry stronger. What we need to remember is that training is not just about increasing product knowledge – there is so much more to it than that. It is about the value which we collectively put on our teams and on providing them with the ability to gain more knowledge and feel valued – because everyone feels more valued if they believe that time is being invested in training them for the future.
While not everyone worked from home during the Covid pandemic, many people did and the hours they saved commuting, for many people were spent in training themselves for new opportunities. Don’t get me wrong, Netflix almost certainly had its place for pretty much everyone who worked from home but training also played a very important role.
One of the main reasons was that it became so much easier to access as more and more companies introduced virtual learning which opened up a lot more opportunities for people to learn new skills. Going forward I don’t think we should ever go back to a time when training is only available in the classroom. It is obviously still going to play an important part in the training matrix but making it virtual opens it up to so many more people.
Training provides an endless list of benefits, for everyone and it was great to see the EDA celebrating their highest achievers. But isn’t it time we all took a fresh look at the issue of training and continue to celebrate its importance and make it accessible for everyone? It is not enough to just read the product literature because to be truly effective we need to invest some time in our future performance – and that means everyone. Let’s not waste the lessons we have learned over the last two years – it’s time to make sure that training continues to take centre stage.
See you next month – Tracey Rushton-Thorpe Editor
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