Ted Barrett                                                   - Training, Consultancy and Technical Services

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Blog for October

Well hello peeps, I’ve been all out of kilter since getting back from holiday at the end of September. I’ve had a two bouts of flu that finally turned into sinusitis but the show must go on. In October I had a nice couple of days at the seaside delivering a maintenance course in Teignmouth, ploughed a groove in the road between High Wycombe and Oxford with multiple day courses, spent a week at Whitehall training MOD maintenance staff along with training in Leighton Buzzard and Kent. Also been covering courses for my old mate Ian Griffiths who broke his arm while mounting a one-man assault on a secret SMERSH base in Afghanistan. I made that last bit up actually, it was in Newport Pagnell.
Anyway, betwixt and between all that lot I have been developing some new training rigs and generally updating materials. I think a good trainer will always be trying to improve. For every course I run I never think “That was perfect, I’m such a star” I am more likely to be thinking “How can I make that better? How can I make that easier for the average person to take in?” 
To help with this I have just finished off a rig that will allow candidates to undertake fault-finding in circuits while I switch breaks into circuit conductors. I hate to see candidates with beetling eyebrows showing that they don’t get the idea of “Half-Splitting”. I can now demonstrate this and get the candidates to try their hand as well.
Now then, let’s have a bit of a gripe about training. When I did my apprenticeship, I was a bit of a loose cannon. I wasn’t as mature as I should have been and wasn’t as smart as I should have been (no change there then) I can’t complain about the training I received at College as that was first class and left a deep impression on me. But with the benefit of hindsight, I can see that where I was let down was on-the-job training. I did work with some guys that were very good at sharing their knowledge, but many just couldn’t be bothered or too wrapped up in themselves. As a result, you just had to learn as best you could. My own experiences shaped me a lot as a trainer and made me develop some quite radical views about our education system and how we train young people in the workplace. I would advocate Work Experience at 15, but make sure this was actually “Work” and not just photocopying. I would also ensure that this “experience” is linked to the student’s chosen career path. Finally, not 2 weeks but 2 months to ensure a full interaction with that chosen career. As we have raised awareness regarding Health & safety I would raise awareness in the workplace regarding the importance of sparing some time to pass on skills to young people. I would also make it easier for more mature candidates to enter the industry. Oh well, some other time I suppose.
I have now made a bit of progress in preparing for the 18th Edition, but will need to maintain progress as there will be a lot of folks wanting to do this next year.
Bookings in November are just as lively as usual (just spent the week running around like a loony, at one point driving from a venue in East Oxfordshire at 4 o’clock in the afternoon to Caerphilly in Wales in preparation for training the next day). December and January are looking just as busy so at this rate I shall be thinking of booking another holiday before too long.
Well that’s my belated report for October. And remember, that dopey kid at work might not be quite that dopey, perhaps he or she is a little bit deaf.

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