As part of our feature on trainer development, we asked TrainingZONE members to tell us a bit about how they came to be involved in the training profession, and offer some thoughts on what it means to be a trainer today. We received a fantastic selection of responses, which will be published throughout the month. Here, Scott G. Welch, a Freelance training and performance improvement consultant responds.
- What's your current job role? Freelance training and performance improvement consultant working with SMEs to help them to develop their own learning and development resources. Specialising in performance-based leadership and management development, recognised qualifications and excellence through people (Investors in People and other business improvement models).
- What did you do before this job? 2 years' corporate trainer (managment development), 2 years' operations manager, hi-tech SME employing 90+ staff, 20 years' US Navy, systems manager and training specialist
(technical trainer; leadership development).
- Describe your route into training Two tours in formal training roles as a US Navy technical curriculum model manager. I enjoyed training but knew nothing of its application outside the service. During my second training tour, I visited the education services office to get some information on off-duty university courses. A poster advertised: 'Illinois veterans: get paid for going to college.' This sounded like a pretty good deal to me, so I entered the Southern Illinois University programme in Workforce Education, Training and Development. It opened a whole new world of opportunities for me.
- Did you always want to work in training and development? I got the most satisfaction and success out of my on-the-job training roles, so it was a natural progression from this into professional training and development.
- What would you say has been the most significant event in your career to date? Becoming a freelance training practitioner. The best way to take charge of your own destiny, job security and quality of life. Now, my most important customer is the client--not the boss.
- How do you think the role of the trainer has changed since you began your training career? In my own case, the progression from traditional instructional, lecture-based roles to being more of a specialist partner for client organizations in linking learning with business performance, delivering relevant, stimulating solutions in real time.
- What single thing would improve your working life? Making some changes to my lifestyle habits by putting the ideas from 'The Power of Full Engagement' into practice.
- What's your favourite part of the TrainingZONE site? I enjoy the discussion boards, Learning Wire and topical features.
- Do you have any advice for those looking to embark on a career in training?
1. Spend some time thinking about what you're good at, what you have to offer and your level of commitment to the profession and to your learners.
2. Build your network and affiliate with professional associations.
3. Keep developing and learning.
- What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the trainer today? Balancing work-life roles and getting respect for our contribution to the business.