If there is one thing I love is finding out new information whether it be scientific, humanitarian, political or just fun. Thus research for my stories is quite a bit of the fun of writing. But currently I’m doing a Cert IV in Training and Assessment. It’s one of those things that I need to do if I’m going to provide training in Project Management. Yes, I’m officially going to undertake training with a delightful organisation called Wisdom Learning. And boy, am I learning. Not so much an issue of content but how to go about training in the current environment, how to assess that training and, as from this week, how to design proper training programs.
I thought it would be a slog but it’s fun. And BTW, my mother is currently rolling around in her grave in frustration. She’s muttering ‘I wish you’d realised you were a good student when you were 10’ over and over again. My response to my beloved but long departed mother is that the schooling in Australia when I was 10 was abysmal. The teacher, OK the Nun, stood in the front of the class and talked, scratched on the blackboard and talked some more, THEN, had the hide to give you a mountain of homework. Like I was going to do that! And of course, there was the ruler… and my hand still bares the scars, as do the back of my knees from the cane end of the feather duster. All of this was in primary school.
Luckily, high school was better. I had some great teachers. Mrs Stanger (in yellow in the link) taught History and English and she was brilliant… she was a storyteller and that was utterly compelling. And I did really well in her class: I even did my homework for her.
After school I went to business college and learned shorthand and typing. The latter has been a beneficial lifelong skill – roughly 100 words per minute when I’m copy typing. Shorthand went by the wayside very quickly. I tended to persuade my bosses that sitting in front of them taking shorthand was wasting their time and mine, a dictaphone was a better option – we could both work and get more done. Phew! I never could read all my squiggles back anyway, and relied on short-term memory for some of it.
Two years into the workforce and I’d had enough. I joined the Woman’s Royal Australian Navy (WRAN) and became a Medic. I topped the class because I loved what I was doing. Got promoted very quickly and ended up a Petty Officer after just over 4 years. Then I had the hide to get married and I had to leave the Navy. The marriage ban was lifted some years before but there was absolutely no guarantee you would be posted with you partner. It was bad enough that he would be away sailing the 7 seas, but being in another city when he was in Australia didn’t appeal, so I left.
When you leave the services they do provide additional training so I refreshed my shorthand and added bookkeeping. Again, dropped the first but bookkeeping has been another lifelong skills that stood me in good stead in my working and private life. Got great marks because I loved it.
We ended up in Canberra 6 months after the wedding when hubby paid off from the Navy. Yes, of course I married a sailor. What else would you expect?
I finally got into the Australian Public Service, after building a house and having two kids when hubby also left the Service, and found I hated the low-level I was working at i.e. lousy pay with heaps of responsibility (my boss had me and three other staff, I had 24 secretaries and 12 people in the typing pool to look after as a Typist Controller – and all the other bosses to deal with when their secretaries/PA’s were sick, did the wrong thing, were unhappy etc – shitty job). So it was suggested I go to uni. And then of course there was the delightful Mr Whitlam who had made uni free. So I went. And I did well. And yes, I loved it.
After my undergrad, I managed two post-grads and an advanced diploma among other things like OHS, law and IT courses.
And now, after nearly 25 years of being a Project Manager and Director, I get to go back to learn how to train people.
Both in my Psych Degree, various Train-the-Trainer courses and this Cert IV, it is very clear that people have to invest in their learning to get anything out of it. Well, DUH! I guess I learned that all by myself over the years. If you like/love what you are learning it’s easy… even when it’s hard (like assignments and research and writing papers on boring stuff).
But knowing this and then being able to develop training that people want to do, have an interest in, get something out of… that’s now my challenge.
I will say that my current trainer, Erin Riley, is one of the most dynamic and motivating people I’ve ever had the pleasure to be educated by. I’m taking lots of notes and if I can come halfway to being like her, then I might just make a success of it.
Guess by now it’s clear that I also love a challenge. Fingers crossed I can meet this one and haven’t bitten off more than I can chew. OK, probably have but I will just chow down and keep chewing till I get it.
Truth is, I hope I can keep learning new stuff until the day my number is up. And then I might still learn something… what, if anything, comes after.