Polish your portfolio

training profession is under pressure to prove its worth. It is now time to
think about your own employability and selling your skills to the board. Alison
Thomas canvasses opinion on how to compile the best career portfolios

Head of training & development, Granada Media

is easy to say, “Know what you want and know where you’re heading”, yet not
many of us have a clear vision of where we want to be in five years’ time.

keep our credibility high, we must stay in touch with what’s happening in the
business, anticipating change and helping translate that change for others. It
is also important to network, keep CVs up to date and take advantage of any
opportunities that arise, because you never know where they will lead.

am not so sure about training solutions. That may sound ironic coming from a
trainer, but I have probably learned more from watching other professionals in
action and using colleagues from other companies as sounding boards than I have
in the classroom.

today’s climate of rapid change, I cannot say to my team, “This is what life
will be like next year”. But I do advise them to keep asking themselves, “Am I
still learning new things and do I still feel challenged?” If the answer is
“yes”, they are eminently employable.

they feel stale and have explored every avenue within their own company, the
time has come to move on.

Chief knowledge officer, BT

gain respect as a trainer, you need to keep up with what is happening in the
workplace of the sector in which you operate.

is a good idea to go out every so often into the world of your customers to
gain insight into their working environment and the problems they face. Only
then can you develop solutions that are bang up to date and appropriate to the

also believe in keeping what I call a living portfolio, containing
recommendations, together with clear evidence of practical interventions you
have made and how these have benefited the customer.

the current emphasis on lifelong learning, there is still a perception that you
go on courses to be trained and return to the real world of work.

more evidence you can produce to demonstrate that you can bridge the gap
between the classroom or e-learning space and the business world, the better.

Founder, The Inspiration Network

become world class you have to set yourself challenges, question the status
quo, move boundaries, be comfortable with yourself and listen to feedback.

should also see yourself as a strategic partner. That means getting as close as
possible to your business clients and having a real understanding both of your
own organisation and the business world in general.

pitfall to beware of is being too precious about training. If clients insist
that they have only half a day, you need to look flexibly at how you can use
that time. Short training inputs can actually prove more effective than long
courses if delegates have the opportunity to put what they have learned into
practice backed up by ongoing coaching support.

an individual point of view, you should always keep abreast of the trends and
recognise new ways of learning. And never forget to look after yourself.

is all too easy to get caught up in a perpetual treadmill, but if you do not pace
yourself and take regular breaks, you will fall over anyway.

Thorne is chairing a seminar entitled Groom Yourself for the Boardroom at WOLCE
2000. She is co-author of World Class Training – Providing Training Excellence.

Forecaster on the future of work and impact of globalisation

and development managers who do not anticipate the future of the profession
will be left stranded. To secure their employability in the global marketplace,
they need to develop entrepreneurial skills so that they can operate
independently of an organisation and encourage others to do the same. That
applies to everyone, even if they work for companies whose future appears
settled, as mergers and acquisitions can transform situations overnight. Other
drivers of change include the shifting power between individuals and employers
and the impact of the communications revolution on the way we do business and
the way we learn.

role of trainers will look very different in a few years’ time and they need to
redefine their function to become consultants who diagnose and solve problems
rather than commissioners of training and development.

can envisage an eventual scenario where more and more people are self-employed,
operating through global networks, collaborating with people across different
time zones and cultures. If trainers have no experience of this, how can they
understand the issues their customers face?

Vandevelde is speaking on employability skills for trainers at Wolce 2000 on 4

Training and development co-ordinator, Provident Insurance

am fortunate to work in an organisation where training and development are an
integral part of overall business strategy. If you are not so lucky, you need
to demonstrate the value of what you do by establishing effective evaluation
mechanisms and publicising your achievements.

you can prove that training is vital to the success of the organisation, a
culture of development will ensue, which will benefit you as an individual as
well as the business.

a personal level, I always set myself clear goals and put a strategy in place
to achieve them. Sometimes that involves stepping out of my box and developing
in different areas.

also keep abreast of training and development changes within the marketplace,
giving myself regular opportunities to refresh my knowledge and reflect on what
I do. One thing experience has taught me is the importance of flexibility. You
must always be prepared to adapt to the needs of the workplace and never lose
sight of the business focus.

Insurance was the winner of the TD2000 Award.

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