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DURATION of courses can range from a day to over a year. They are not effective if organisers, trainers or participants have a poor understanding of what constitutes training.

Many briefing sessions are dubbed training, with speakers resenting large amount of information, which the audience may not fully understand or cannot remember to apply.

Briefings are suitable for industry seminars, where participants are only interested in knowing what is useful for them.

On the other hand, training is an organised process for trainees to acquire the correct attitude, skills and knowledge needed to perform a task or job to the required standard.

As such, trainees must demonstrate proficiencies before being awarded a certificate for their competencies, and not just for attendance.

Everyone needs training to perform at a higher level or keep abreast of the latest developments, but those who need training the most are the ones least interested.

Sadly, training and a learning culture are grossly lacking in our society. Graduates may have obtained a diploma or degree, but few learnt enough to perform well at work.

Many parents invest huge sums of money in their children’s education but most graduates will not spend their own money to equip themselves with the skills and knowledge needed to secure better jobs.

It is also difficult to train Gen Y (born 1995 or earlier) and Gen Z (born 1996 or later), and it will be a double whammy training them for a career in the travel industry, for example, as most have a poor grasp of English, the universal tourism language.

They may be social media savvy, exposed to English online and consume tonnes of information daily. But, this is all superficial knowledge, as they cannot describe the contents clearly.

Trainers could easily be led to believe they have understood what was explained to them, but when tested, they will repeat mistakes.

To ensure that learning takes place, training should be broken up into bite-size pieces.

Written answers can be discussed with the class for group learning.

A step-by-step approach is necessary for apprentices to reach a certain level of competency.

It is different from academic programmes in which students are fed with ready answers, with many completing their assignments through the cut-and-paste method.

Many students and trainees do not bother to go through the learning process, thinking that knowledge can easily be obtained by clicking a few buttons, without realising that common information has little value.

It is no surprise that many graduates cannot define tourism in a meaningful manner, although they may have spent a few years studying it.

Instead of asking apprentices to find ready answers, it will be more beneficial to involve them in a project, such as preparing an itinerary for an imaginary tourist.

With much guidance, a group of apprentices managed to prepare a detailed tour programme but when asked, none could describe what an itinerary is.

For training to be effective, the course content, trainers and trainees must be in sync.

C.Y.Ming Ampang, Selangor NST Opinion Letters May 15, 2017

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