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The four things every vocational learner should know......

As with all things in life, there is a spectrum of those who choose to engage (or not to engage) with training, CPD, vocational courses or however else you can choose to refer to it.

You have those that are just there for the certificate and their ‘ticket’ to carry on in the role they are already in, those who will throw themselves wholeheartedly into any course they are offered and those who will take on courses that are not only relevant for their role, but ones that just take their interest, for fun.

There is always a place for everyone irrespective of how they choose to engage with their own CPD but it is true to say that the energy that you bring to life is often reflected back in the results you see. Candidates on course that arrive with an open mind and a desire to engage with a course not only get more out of training, but achieve better academic outcomes whilst simultaneously contributing toward the course experience for others.

On a recent course held at Broadside’s larger training facility in Cosham, Portsmouth, several candidates arrived with this sort of approach. One candidate in particular, an ex-serviceman, brought a wealth of life experience into the training room. The willingness to look upon a course as an opportunity to learn and build friendships within the group made a huge positive difference to each and every person in the room.

Many people working within industries that require vocational qualifications often have low level barriers to learning. It is often true that many of those people haven’t been in a classroom setting for years (and sometimes decades) – making it understandable that there may be reticence about stepping back into a classroom.

The key factor in the room is obviously the trainer. The leader of the space and the arbiter of the day, the trainer is responsible to set the tone, maintain the energy levels and ensure that all the academic points are covered. Candidates in the classroom do however under-estimate the impact they can have on the space, the group and eventually the achievement level of others in the room.

When you next join a course, no matter the type of learner you are, how shy you may feel, how confident (or not) you may be in the setting, try to begin the day with a few key things:

Leave your assumptions at the door – Most experienced practitioners know their role exceedingly well but it is those that search for the gems of new knowledge that get the most from a course. Don’t let what you already know to cloud the opportunity for new insights and theories.

Turn your notifications off – To engage, you first must pay attention. You will get so much more from the day and your opportunity to pass the course will be greatly increased if your phone is not competing for your focus.

Smile – A friendly face and a handshake at the start of a new course group is the best way to get off on the right foot. Introduce yourself to others and the trainer; it will reduce the fear of ‘the icebreaker’ exercise when it comes to your turn to say your name and why you are there.

Feedback – We have all had a colleague who had some choice words to say about a product or service yet said nothing about it to the company who provided it. Training lives for feedback! Ensure you fill out any post course feedback form or send an email with any constructive, honest feedback you may have. The method of course delivery is often flexible and with feedback, can be used to improve the experience for future learners.

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