Work-Based Learning – Get the Hands on Experience!
George Santayana: ‘The great difficulty of education is to get experience out of ideas.’
The skills shortage in the UK construction industry has been a pressing issue for a while now and remains a hot topic following the recent election and the Tory pledge to fund three million apprenticeships to tackle this shortage. With an aging workforce, the skills gap becomes even more apparent but why is it that apprenticeships seem to be the steadfast solution?
Confucius once remarked: ‘Tell me and I forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand.’
At a fundamental level, this principle is why work-based learning such as apprenticeships, mentoring, shadowing, work-experience and the like are so effective; because they actively involve the individual. As a teaching method, research has proven that practical, or ‘experiential’ learning is one of the most effective development resources and that’s not just among the younger generations!
This isn’t something new to any of us and yes, it makes sense, particularly with regard to roles of manual labour for instance. However, it is something that is potentially undervalued and under-recognised with job roles such as sales, sales management and leadership because more often than not, it requires time, effort, people and resources that businesses simply can’t spare.
Businesses that recognise the importance of investing in the development of their people get a thumbs up from us at the outset – the right mind-set is half the battle! We are creatures of habit and that is not always a good thing in a marketplace that is constantly changing and evolving – there is always room for improvement, so why put a ceiling on it?
Those of the anti-development perspective are quite often simply unaware and uneducated in the different types of training and how effective they can be, more often than not associating this dreaded word with the conventional classroom, lecture-style scenario where delegates are bombarded with cheesy sales jargon – well, we agree with them to an extent because we know this isn’t effective! On the other hand, those who embrace the concept of training could also potentially be at fault because simply ‘ticking the box’ is equally ineffective – plus a waste of time and money!
Yes, there is always going to be an element of ‘classroom’ learning because there are methods and skills that are best taught in this way but it’s about the support in the application of this knowledge and embedding it back into the workplace which is vital to the success of the training initiative. This is why work-based learning is so important and valuable as a learning method, allowing individuals the opportunity to demonstrate and apply their understanding back in their own environment – this is ultimately where they will be using the knowledge, so this therefore is where they need to be able to use it!
Work-based learning can take place in many different formats. As a sales training and development company, we often use techniques such as one-to-one feedback, follow-up workshops and Forum Theatre to help create and consolidate that learning journey. In designing our courses, we also often set a small piece of pre-work to get individuals engaged and thinking ahead of the training day. All of these techniques help to solidify that overall learning process; encouraging a positive mind-set which enables individuals to confidently apply the skills and knowledge learnt.
Another great form of work-based learning that we offer also results in a professional sales and marketing qualification. As a recognised centre for ISMM, we offer those in sales and marketing roles (from apprentice right the way through senior management level) the opportunity to help establish their professionalism.
These work-based programmes are modular which means individuals spend an allotted amount of time learning the theory and ideas behind each chosen topic but they then head straight back into the workplace to action this before moving on. Asked to fill out a learner diary in the process, individuals actively put into practice what they have learnt and embed this into their own day-to-day role, before coming back into the classroom. They are ultimately assessed on the skills being used on a day-to-day basis in the workplace, which is why ISMM qualifications are a great method of professional development for salespeople.
For more information on ISMM qualifications, contact KSA.