I am going to mention a word so I want you
to close your eyes and focus on images that cross your mind.
Are you ready? Teacher. So let me guess – You must have imagined
a class room, filled with students and a teacher. The teacher must have been the only adult
in class, right? Now we all are familiar with the word ‘Teacher’
However there is another word people use when talking about teaching.
That word is pedagogy and it means “Leading Children”.
But here is another question. What about Leading Adults?
Surely learning cannot and should not stop when you become an adult. So who teaches adults?
Well, we have a term for teaching adults too and the term is: andragogy.
In this session I am going to talk about a person involved in teaching adult learners.
This person is a corporate trainer. The goal of a corporate trainer is to improve
the performance of employees Let me give you an example. Let’s say that
Company X makes computer software for banks. So if you work for this company, you have
to know computer programming and also how the banking industry functions.
Now Company X may find it very difficult to find people who know both.
So the company could hire a person good at programming and then train him or her on how
the banking industry functions. Now let’s assume COMPANY X sells this software
to a bank. The banks employees too would need to know
how to use the software. Company X could then send a corporate trainer
to train the banks employees. So, as this example demonstrates corporate
trainers focus on employees or customers of a company.
And WHAT does a corporate trainer normally train?
Well, corporate trainers exist across a wide spectrum of industries.
You can think of any industry and the chances are HIGH that they have a training division.
And the training division could focus on soft skills or hard skills or both.
An example of a soft skill or interpersonal skill would be ‘Team work’ or ‘Time
Management’. Generally students are not exposed to these
skills in schools or colleges so corporate trainers teach these courses
An example of a hard skill would be Computer programming or a foreign language.
So if you look at the bigger picture, our teachers in school, our professors in college
or university and our corporate trainers at work ensure that we individuals are constantly
learning something new. Pre-requisites
To become a corporate trainer, firstly, you should have an inclination to teach and the
confidence to address an audience senior to you in age and work experience.
You should also have good problem solving skills.
Let me get into more detail here. If you train at a customer site, your audience and venue
will be different each time. And you will surely face administration issues.
What if the projector is not working? What if your training material has not arrived?
What if the people you are training do not like your company’s product?
A good trainer is able to tackle such administrative problems.
Then of course you have your subject matter – How do you tackle questions you do not
know answers to? So what educational qualifications does one
need to be a trainer? This is not an easy question to answer but
let me try: Firstly, many learners do not join the training
department after their studies. So if you studied programming you could start
off as a programmer. After some time you may become a business analyst.
At this stage you have a great combination of business and technical skills and thus
want to share your knowledge . Becoming a trainer is a great way to do this.
On the other hand, you could also join the training industry fresh out of college and
focus on one of the many soft or hard skills which are in demand.
Another key thing for you to know is that trainers come from a variety of backgrounds.
But what is common is the desire to help adults learn. Joys of the Craft
Now let us move into the future and imagine you as a trainer.
What are some of the joys of the craft? If you train employees, you get to interact
with the various people within the company. This helps you get to know colleagues as well
as give and receive valuable inputs. If you train your customers, that is great
too, since they are the people using your product and hence their inputs are valuable.
Trainers also work on different educational technologies.
So yes, you may train in a classroom, but you may also be involved with online training
if your customers are scattered globally. You could also train in a language different
from that of your audience. This is done using interpreters and is very
interesting. Finally your audience generally changes quite
frequently which helps you meet different people, see new places and tackle new questions. Challenges of the Craft
Now let us look at the other side of the coin. If you want to be an effective trainer you
got be a lifelong learner. You will be constantly evaluated by your audience
so there is a lot of pressure to keep up to date with your subject matter.
When training at customer sites, you are the face of your company.
If the customer dislikes your product you may face hostility in the classroom.
At times trainings can be few and far between. These periods are dull and it takes self -motivation
to keep updating one’s knowledge base. Prospects
So what are the prospects like in this role? If you work in a company whose focus is training
then the growth path will generally be good. You could start as a junior trainer and progress
into the role of a senior trainer. With time, trainers become training managers
wherein they manage trainers and technical writers.
Diversification is another key element. Trainers move into other roles such as business
analysis, consultancy and technical writing. Lastly you could be your own boss.
For example, individuals, with different training skill sets, coming together and forming their
own company. So this brings us to the end of this session.
Hope it helped. Good luck with your decision.