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Producing peak performances

TRAINING was once primarily an activity involving newcomers to a workplace, but in today’s competitive world, developing the skills of workers at all levels has become an increasingly prominent goal for many in business.

As a result, training is undergoing something of a metamorphosis. Businesses have the option of training in house, outsourcing training or even hiring corporate coaches.

Individual workers are also recognising the need to be multi-skilled in order to secure not only future positions, but also to satisfy their desires for personal growth.

This has led to a growth in the number of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), some of which have grown from company in-house training, and include Internet education providers.

According to SGIO State manager Garry Moore, SGIO offers not only internal and external training, but also training services to other companies.

“Product, systems and corporate compliance training is conducted internally with new and existing staff as required,” Mr Moore said.

“Locally we utilise external service providers for interpersonal skills. For example, effective communi-cation, conflict resolution and effective negotiation training, and PC skilling as required.”

SGIO also runs an internal leadership centre, which aims to recognise leaders and to provide a world-class education program that will allow the development of their potential.

One of the programs run at the centre is Leadership InSight. It’s designed for managers whose skills in leadership are still developing, but who have demonstrated a passion for the business and an ability to lead people, develop their aspirations and build their careers.

Another of the programs, Leader-ship InFocus, is aimed at senior managers and executives and includes mentoring, capability reviews and management workshops.

“The focus is on three centres of excellence – recruitment, leadership and learning – to strive to attract high calibre talent to the organisation, to educate staff in all aspects of their roles and to create leaders within our ranks,” Mr Moore said.

Attracting new talent is a high priority for many corporations, with training often used as the carrot to lure promising individuals.

“The company recognises the value of attracting and retaining quality talent. By investing in our employees we deliver value to our people, our business and our shareholders,” Mr Moore said.

Methods of training also seem to be on the move, from the more traditional to the development of a corporate coaching industry.

Corporate or professional coaches work one-on-one with middle to senior management in order to fast track their success.

Digby Scott, a professional coach from The Catalyst Group, said companies were recognising the need to tailor training packages to individuals.

“Rather than rolling out a pre-packed training program, what they’re doing is realising that, at the senior end of the scale, executives have special development needs,” Mr Scott said.

He said organisations also were being smarter about the way they trained people. Rather than adhering to rigid training schedules, they were looking at what their workers needed to know, and when they needed to be trained to fill that need.

“And, therefore, options like coaching are becoming more popular,” Mr Scott said.

Coaching also differs from traditional training in that it is not about the transfer of skills. Rather, coaches work to help their clients come up with their own answers, to solve their own problems and to take the initiative.

“In this day and age it is impossible for managers to know everything. It’s more important for them to be the person who facilitates their staff in coming up with their own answers and solving their own problems,” Mr Scott said.

“My job is to listen to what their goals are and help them get clarity about those goals. To help them remove obstacles and offer an objective point of view on their situation.

“To help them become clearer about what they need to do and how they are behaving. To help them remove blind spots.”

While corporate coaching is becoming more popular, it is certainly not the most common form of training.

RTOs may be the most common form of training, but SGIO is one of the few insurance companies that also acts as an RTO, offering risk management training.

“SGIO is committed to supporting organisations in the successful management of workplace safety and health,” Mr Moore said.

“Our occupational safety and health training services include a training program, to national standards, for supervisors and managers and a training program for elected safety and health representatives.”

There is a plethora of RTOs in WA to choose from, from SGIO to the Keen Bros (a truck driving school) and the Good Samaritans. Other RTOs, such as the Auston Institute of Management and Technology, export knowledge from WA by training overseas students.

The advent of the computer age, which initially forced many people to change career paths after their jobs became redundant, is now first in line to offer computer skills on line.

The SEEK Learning Centre offers a range of computer courses, such as Microsoft Office.

Other organisations, including the Australian Institute of Management and the Securities Institute, offer more corporate oriented training over the net.

Courses such as business law and contracting, project management and developing marketing strategy are all offered on line.

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