Training – have you been on your ladder course?

There are so many positives involved in training someone, that it is hard to think of a negative. It’s a definite ‘win, win’ situation for any group. The trick is to ensure that everyone benefits from the training – the company and staff. To do this, you must choose the right training.

My name is Stuart Farnsworth, I am the managing Director of FAME Services. We are a facilities management company, specialising in maintenance, repair, and refurbishment of commercial buildings. Before I talk about that however, I would like to tell you why I think training is such a positive thing.

During the 1980’s I worked for a nationalised industry where I received the best training that a junior member of staff could ever have wanted. I didn’t really appreciate it at the time. I just accepted that that was the norm for everyone. I then joined a public sector body and for the next 16 years underwent training for almost every aspect of work. I look back to those days and with a little smile remember conversations with colleagues who, when hearing that I was to undertake ‘another’ course for this or that or the other, they would ask ‘have you had your ladder course’? This was asked with some irony as it was perceived that everyone knew how to climb a ladder, and therefore didn’t need to be taught how to do so. As I write this article today, I am fully aware that training in the workplace has developed so much that there is in fact a formal ‘ladder course’ – and rightly so. Training is therefore at my very heart. It has been a very large part of my life. 

At FAME Services we adopted our vision statement to reflect that in that it states that we should be the best FM company in our region through Teamwork and Training. This is borne out of my own working experience. Training provides confidence. Training provides an improved self-image. Training produces desire and dedication.

With the right kind of training, you can expect less accidents, make better decisions, communicate those decisions, and manage conflict or stress better. Whatever the issue is, training will make staff more productive. Having better informed employees leads to challenging questions being asked of management e.g. Why do we do it this way?  If management is smart and does not take it as a threat, it will investigate its procedures to see if there is a better way. And so, the cycle continues in many ways through communication, process control, health and safety, cross functional teams etc. What could be better than to have a happy productive group that is challenged to improve the way it performs its task. And this is what you get if you train properly.

However, the best benefit I think that you get from training is from the strong unspoken message that you send to your employees when you commit to training them. It’s a message that says:

‘We believe in you. We want to see you do better. We want to see you succeed’.

That’s the message you send to your employees. They will not necessarily acknowledge this openly but given the right time and opportunity they will. 

We believe in the six elements of training:

    1. Existing: A new member of staff will come to FAME Services with a portfolio of existing qualifications and training records through CPD etc. This record is where they are, and from that point we can produce a training development regime for the future. This is done through the appraisal process, which we hold for all staff during the month of July.
    2. Induction: Within the first two weeks of working with FAME Services each employee will go through our induction process. That means we will ensure that each new recruit will have met our minimum standard of training provided to them, through our in-house online training platform – Flick. This will include Health and Safety level 2 courses, Asbestos awareness courses, Working at Height and Ladder training, among others. Our administration staff and management staff also complete these minimum standards as we feel that it is appropriate that all members of the team are aware of the implications of asking another member of staff to carry out a certain task and the risks involved.
    3. On site: Each member of operational staff will then receive onsite training. This will include being involved in toolbox talks as well as practical training to meet each client’s requirements. The variety of course suppliers give you a lot more choice as to when and where training can be provided, and at what cost. Also, with training being supplied online you can ensure that legal requirements are met, statutory measures are complied with etc.
    4. External: During the appraisal process we map out the following 12 months of training for each member of staff through external providers. This enables the company to ensure it has appropriately trained staff in all areas that it requires, and it has the added benefit of creating enthusiasm and self-belief in a member of the team. These courses will range from GDPR awareness through to Fire Door Installation. No matter what the course, there is benefit for all.
    5. Training Academy: FAME Services has recently initiated the provision of a in house training academy. The training academy will allow new members of operational staff to undergo our foundation standard verification on all accepts of maintenance. Engineers will meet our minimum standards and receive certification for doing so. This method is a vast investment for FAME Services, but it underscores our intention and belief to train, train, train people to ensure we reach high standards. We are very proud of the academy, and we feel it is a milestone that will take us to higher levels in the future.
    6. Ongoing: Once signed on to our Flick account each member of staff has their own log in, and from that they can access a whole host of other online courses. Some of which will be appropriate to their skill set, but they also have access to a wide range of other courses which they may take up. As far as we are concerned, all training is good. So more the better.

    Finally – My training

    It’s alright talking management speak, but I prefer to lead by example. I have taken an exam in some form or another, every year of my working life, up until 6 years ago, when I graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a master’s degree in Facilities Management.  I then applied to become a certified member of The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (CIWFM).   

    Training must be an ethos, a belief, a core understanding of what an organisation stands for. If all you do, is train your staff because you must reach minimum standards, you can hardly say it is at the heart of your belief or desire.

    Whatever you choose to learn – remember you can’t lose!

    If we can help you at all with your training needs we will only be too pleased to do so.

    Stuart Farnsworth BSc (Hons) CIWFM

    Managing Director

    FAME Services

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