Talking TAP

The TAP Qualified Professional Newsletter

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August 13th 2008 Volume 1, Number 3

In This Issue

Monthly Features

Contact Us

Dates for your diary

Every year The Training Foundation takes part in a wide range of Learning and Development related events. TAP Qualified Professional LinkedIn members will receive advance notice and special registration privileges. Jot these dates in your diary! 

CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition 2008,

16th to 18th September 2008, Harrogate, Yorkshire

Click here for more information

World of Learning Conference and Exhibition 2008,

19th to 20th November 2008, NEC, Birmingham

Click here for more information

Learning Technologies 2009 Conference and Exhibition,

28th to 29th January 2009, Olympia 2, London

Click here for more information

5th Getenergy Global Energy Exploration & Production Annual Event,

23rd to 25th March 2009, London

Click here for more information

CIPD HRD Conference and Exhibition,

21st to 23rd April 2009, ExCeL, Docklands, London

Click here for more information

TAP Qualified Professional of the Month

Dave Jones 

Dave Jones recognises that becoming an excellent trainer is not easy. “You need to be comfortable with yourself and have good listening skills in order to build true rapport for maximum engagement”. He sees this ability as crucial in order to ensure recall and retention.  “A good trainer is often a good storyteller" he commented, "However training is far more  than showing a PowerPoint presentation, the skill is to use the power of the group; don’t tell them what they can tell you!”

Dave originally joined Rolls-Royce as a Craft Apprentice and after 4 years became a CNC Machinist. In 1996, Dave joined the Business Improvement function at Rolls-Royce becoming a manufacturing engineer in 1998. In 2000 he moved into the training department at Rolls-Royce, a career path which gradually led to a position in Rolls-Royce Global Learning and Development as Staff Training Officer. Dave explains that he is keen to take on greater challenges and feels sure that his TAP qualifications will help him to do this.

Dave believes that preparation is key; every delegate deserves the same level of energy, attention and enthusiasm that you would give the first and only person on a course.  "You’ve got to want to be a trainer and love to train in order to succeed.”

Jones achieved the TAP Certificate in Training Delivery Skills in 2007 and is due to complete the TAP Certificate in Facilitation Skills and the TAP Certificate in Design and Development Skills later this year. Ultimately he is working towards the TAP Diploma in Learning & Development.

Jones is currently involved in Business Improvement Training within the Rolls-Royce Training Portfolio based in Derby. This position involves managing a global portfolio of courses on behalf of Rolls-Royce, ensuring standards are maintained by internal trainers or external associates.

He sees the TAP Qualified Professional Group on LinkedIn as a fantastic networking opportunity for trainers and, ideal for knowledge sharing and keeping up to date with industry trends and changes.

Dave believes that the TAP Learning System is unique in providing key insights into what training really represents giving him access to the skills and methodologies that have enabled him to develop and become a fully rounded trainer. Dave feels that the TAP courses he has attended have given him the confidence to design training which both reflects TAP best practice and his individual style of training. In particular he values the questioning techniques he learned and applies these every day in his work as a trainer.

To find out more about Dave or add him as a LinkedIn connection, please visit his profile at:

If you are interested in becoming the TAP Qualified Professional of the Month for September please get in touch with Claire Brookes at The Training Foundation.

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Getting the most from your LinkedIn Account

Thanks to the latest release of LinkedIn functionality you can now search the complete Directory of other LinkedIn Groups that currently exist around the globe. 

To do this:

  • Click the 'Groups' link in the panel to the left hand side of your home page
  • This will reveal your 'Groups' page headed with three tabs
  • Click the second of these to reach the 'Groups Directory' page
  • Type the words 'Learning and Development' into the search field
  • Click 'Search Groups'
  • You will find the the TAP Qualified Professional Group in your search results, listed alongside 163 other influential groups of learning professionals from around the world.

Of course there are a bewildering array of other ways in which you can use your LinkedIn Account, if you take the trouble to find out how. These include knowledge sharing, finding former colleagues or schoolfriends or simply seeking out new opportunities amongst the 25 million other members.

Interested in finding out more about how to get the most from LinkedIn?

I'm on LinkedIn -- Now What???: A Guide to Getting the Most OUT of LinkedIn

If so, simply bounce a reply to this email with the words 'Getting more from LinkedIn' in the subject line. We will be delighted to send you a short four page guide which we have written specifically for group members. 

We will also send a free copy of a very useful book called I'M ON LINKEDIN -Now What, to the first person who bounces us a reply to this issue of Talking TAP. To review the contents of this book by Jason Alba simply click here or on the image of the cover above.

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The Manila File

Jeepney station in the Phillipines
As some of you will know, Paul Edmondson delivers courses within the TAP Learning System. Last month he set off to run the two-day course leading to the TAP Foundation Award in Training Delivery Skills for subject matter experts based in Manila, capital of the Phillipines. We asked him to share his experiences of the trip with the rest of the TAP Qualified Professional Group. The result was his contribution: The Manila File.

Manila is on the west coast of one of the largest islands of the 7000 that make up the Philippines, in South East Asia.  Being the capital city of a country populated by almost 93 million people, it is a hive of activity; maritime trade, government, culture and tourism.

After a long but comfortable flight, Paul arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, having stopped off for a few hours of duty-free browsing at Dubai. He recalls his experiences:

"The driver who picked me up from the airport had no choice but to take a leisurely drive from the airport to my hotel.  The amount and array of traffic was astounding: Jeepneys in all their brightly painted glory plodded along the highway.  These privately-owned buses serve as the most popular form of public transport, and I was struck by how they tried to compete for space and speed with the gleaming Mercedes and Bentleys.  Like elephants on roller-skates!  There were also tricycles, favoured by the locals.  Imagine a side-car on a pushbike with a plastic bag for a roof, and you’ve pretty much got the idea!

Wherever I looked, I could see advertisements: on bus-shelters, enormous billboards, smog-blackened apartment buildings and walls!  The adverts didn’t seem to appeal to my adult values; my subtle needs.  They screamed more at the child in me; my vulgar wants.  ‘Spend, spend, spend’ was the less-than-subliminal instruction.

I arrived at my elegant hotel and, after unpacking and getting resources ready for the next day, I settled down for the night…

Thursday dawned bright and clear, despite the rainy season.  I later found out that, because of its proximity to the equator, the sunrises and sunsets in the Philippines are at the same time at each end of the day - give or take half an hour - throughout the year.  My bedroom window framed a beautiful living portrait of the bay.  Inspirational, and exactly the kind of start to a day of international training that I needed!

After another journey along the crowded and noisy roads, past countless government buildings and ‘Gentlemen’s Health Clubs’ that promised to relieve me of my pesos, under railway bridges carrying trains bursting with commuters from other parts of the island and beyond even more billboards telling me to buy things that I didn’t know I needed, I arrived at the training venue: a glorious, brand-spanking-new, air conditioned building.

The training suite was super, and had clearly been carefully designed to nurture a learning and innovative environment.  Brightly painted with large, bold room numbers (like a nursery), the walls along the corridors were adorned with plaques, certificates and photos of employees who’d gone the extra mile for the organisation.  This was my first sense of the pride of the Filipinos:  they’re proud to have jobs and they’re fiercely proud of their employers.

From the minute I opened the course and presented each delegate with a bar of chocolate (you can’t beat our chocolate!), they absorbed themselves not only in the discussions and activities that we had around the theory of the methodology, but they also seemed to embrace the intangible spirit of TAP.  Sounds like a contradiction in terms, I know, but it’s the only description that springs to mind!

We had interesting discussions that crossed international boundaries.  I found out that in the Philippines: whether they’re big or small, it’s okay to make fun of somebody’s weight; it’s normal for learners to jump out of their seats and help the perfectly capable trainer move flips or wipe boards without being asked; breaks need to be strictly managed if you’re to have any chance of delivering the course content on time; it’s unusual if you don’t smoke; credit cards are seen as status symbols; debit cards practically make you a celebrity; learners will only challenge the devil’s advocate.

All six delegates were successful.  They will thrilled to be the first half-dozen trainers in the country to have received the TAP Foundation Award in Training Delivery Skills.

I particularly enjoyed giving feedback.  The Filipinos need very specific comments for the feedback to make any sense.  They can’t react to: ‘You were good’ or ‘That was poor’.  They need: ‘I really liked it when you…, because…’ or ‘I was surprised that you chose to…, since…’

All in all, it was a tiring, rewarding, eye-opening and insightful few days.  I’m glad to be home and back in the fold.  My exposure to Philippino culture has left me slightly more enriched and rounded - and an even better trainer for it!"

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What impact is the credit crunch having on learning and development?

Last month Group Member Bob Parry asked a question of real relevance to us all: Is learning and development sliding into recession?

Are your graphs on the slide...In total Bob received 18 very detailed responses from around the world, charting the range of ways in which organisations are adapting their learning and development strategy to cope with the current economic challenges. To review these responses simply click here and then click the the Yellow button marked 'View Full Profile'. You can access Bob's question by clicking on the 'Q&A' tab, which appears just under his name and the words 'United Kingdom'.

If you have a burning question to ask the whole Linked In Community, please contact Claire Brookes before the end of August. Your question could be profiled in the September issue!

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TAP Partner of the Month

There are now over 120 TAP Partner organisations throughout the UK, committed to the employment of TAP Qualified Professionals in order to guarantee the quality of learning and development services. This month we profile Oxford University.

Oxford University
The University of Oxford lays claim to be the oldest university in the English speaking world, attracting over 18,000 students from more than 130 countries and employing over 8,500 university staff.

In an environment where the mission is to provide exceptional education to the very best of the world’s students and to attract, develop and retain the highest calibre of academic staff it is not surprising that similarly high aspirations apply to the delivery of essential business support systems and services.

Jackie Boyer heads up the training team located within the Business Systems and Projects (BSP) division, which provides project management, service delivery and support services for information and communications technologies (ICT) delivered centrally and to other key areas of the University’s operations.

Jackie and her team of four trainers and one training administrator take their responsibilities to support the roll-out and smooth running of business systems very seriously.

"We believe in designing and delivering exceptional systems training to help personnel at all levels to perform their jobs to the best of their ability," she says. "It’s vital that people know how to use business systems correctly because they hold important data about staff and students."

To download the full case study

-click here
(260KB - requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

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Article of the Month: Learning to change, by Ron Mackrell

Ron MackrellRon Mackrell, Director of the TAP Partners Programme considers the human factors that often undermine investments in ‘lean’ initiatives.

Next to life and death one other thing is certain, change. Yet mankind has constantly struggled with the complexities and challenges brought on by change. 

Today’s global business world is no exception.  Increasingly more ferocious competition from abroad has left many of our manufacturing companies moribund or in decline.  Regrettably there is no panacea, only by recognizing and accepting the rapid pace of change can we act and find survival strategies.

There can be no doubt that with the disappearance of both manufacturing and now service industries new initiatives must be found.  Britain led the world through invention and innovation during the industrial revolution, but in today’s highly competitive global markets innovation is needed just to survive.  The Japanese are an example of how radical these changes can be, in particular to the automotive industry.  They transformed their industry by building to customers’ needs and individual orders (pull) rather than mass producing (push) and hoping to sell through dealer outlets. The consequences were massive; reducing waste, inventories, and failures whilst improving quality and delivery.

Some westerners have now adopted the principles of lean manufacturing and as manufacturers inculcate their employees in these models it became clear that their suppliers needed to follow their example.  The results have been mixed, with some companies enthusiastically embracing the new order and finding benefits in them. The difficulties facing some UK companies’ adaptation to lean has been their cultural legacy. When these companies have been run as command and control organisations it becomes difficult to instill empowerment overnight.  It requires a different mindset and management style, which is more participative and democratic in its decision-making and change initiatives.

Lean thinking assumes that all employees are seen as an asset.  “Employees are an integral part of the business enterprise, not extensions of machines: employee empowerment is good.”  (Lean Transformation) 

Individuals at all levels make contributions to continually improve performance and meet the changing demands of the customer. (Kaizen)
The effect of these changes is that employees are increasingly recognised as the key business drivers.  The ability of the business to add value rests on its front-line employees, or 'human capital'. Organisations that wish to succeed have to get the most out of this resource.  In order to do this, employers have to know what their employees expect from their work.  The “psychological contract” offers a framework for monitoring employee attitudes and priorities on those dimensions that can be shown to influence performance.

Assuming you have mastered the issues of; situational leadership styles, the psychological contract and the values and processes that support innovatives programmes you will find yourself in the position of delivering  real improvements to the business. 

Often the early gains can be impressive and met with much enthusiasm, but over an extended period of time some change or training initiatives fail to bring permanent change.  One of the major reasons for this is that change agents and organisations don’t pay sufficient attention to behaviour.  The focus is usually on changing systems and processes, while the impact of the behaviours of those involved in and affected by the changes is rarely taken into account.  Yet leaders, managers, individuals and teams need to change their behaviours in order to realign with the changed objectives of the business or organisation.

To achieve sustainabilty you need follow through interventions which will repeat, reinforce and reward positive change. Through the use of qualified organisational coaches you can design a coaching programme that suits organisational and individual needs.  Programmes shaped to compliment change or training initiatives can deliver exceptional results.

“Thirty-one managers underwent a conventional managerial training programme, which was followed by eight weeks of one-to-one executive coaching.  Training alone increased productivity by 22.4%, but the coaching increased productivity by 88%”!
(A study by Olivero, Bane & Kopelman, published in Public Personnel Management in 1997, examined the effects of coaching in a public sector utility).  

Behavourial coaching is a structured, process-driven relationship between a trained and professionally qualified coach and an individual or team, which includes: assessment, examining values and motivation, setting measurable goals, defining focused action plans and using validated tools and techniques.  All of these things combine to help coachees develop competences and remove blocks to achieve valuable and sustainable change.

Organisational behavourial coaching is defined as the science of facilitating the performance,  learning and development of the individual or team, which in turn, will assist the growth of the organisation.  Increasingly, coaches are adopting a behavourial model.  There is growing recognition of the need to assess, strengthen and change behavours and to evaluate these changes within a scientific framework.

Organisational learning can usually be traced through three overlapping stages.  The first step is cognitive.  Employees of the organisation are exposed to new ideas, expand their knowledge and begin to think differently.  The second step is behavioural.  Employees begin to internalize new insights and with coaching support alter their behaviour. 

Only if these behavioural changes are repeated and reinforced sufficiently will they become permanent and instinctive.
The third step is performance improvement, with changes in behaviour leading to measurable improvements in results: superior quality, better delivery, increased market share, or other tangible gains.

About Ron Mackrell ABILD

Ron Mackrell has had a varied career.  He has a Masters Degree in management and technology, a diploma in career counseling and is a qualified practioner in hypnotherapy.

He has held a number of senior positions in sales and marketing functions and has more than 20 years of recruitment and career counseling experience. He is currently Director of the TAP Partners Programme with The Training Foundation.

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