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Case study: TAP into the news

Gill Honey, IT Training Manager at News International, outlines the ways in which structured training skills development has helped her department to deliver a greater return of investment in both Trainers and Training Facilities over the last six years.

News International publishes four of the UK's most widely recognised newspapers titles: The Times; The Sun; The Sunday Times and the News of the World.

News International also has a growing on-line business with all four newspaper titles publishing internet editions. As subsidiary of News Corporation, News International is also part of one of the world's largest media organisations.

Competing successfully in a technology driven business comes down to two simple factors: having the most modern technology available and having staff that are able to use it effectively.

So ensuring staff are efficient at using complex IT systems under intense pressure is a key challenge at News International. The IT Training department was formed some 10 years ago to take on that challenge. Gill Honey is the IT Training Manager charged with responsibility for ensuring the quality of this training:

"In the early stages of the IT Training department's formation, staff were employed from a variety of different areas from within the company, creating a team with a wealth of News International industry knowledge but lacking formal training skills.

"As the department and its training portfolio expanded, it became important to find a programme that could offer a means to build the team's training skills through a solid train-the-trainer programme, with scope for continued professional trainer development.

"TAP was selected to fill this gap both on its own merits, and also because of its status as one of the leading professionally recognised training qualifications.

"Following its initial selection, it took only a few months to realise the benefits the TAP programme could bring. The programme has now been in continuous use within the department for over 6 years, providing us with an excellent framework on which to benchmark trainer's skills and standardise training methods."

Gill Honey believes that trainers are no different to any other members of staff: "They work best if they have a solid understanding of what they are trying to achieve and have a usable and understandable framework to work from.

"TAP immediately gave our trainers the confidence to handle delegates with demanding needs, and the re-assurance that they were doing things right.

"Creating effective courses is partly about how to structure a course well and partly about how to ensure an effective transfer of skills through the design of materials and delivery of the course.

"TAP encouraged our trainers to take responsibility for this process and to understand how to approach it professionally, using a solid foundation."

As an IT Trainer Joanna Dyson agrees with this analysis: "The TAP model offers the trainer a good framework for designing and delivering training.

"For me it ensures that I keep the training learner-focussed. When I attend external training courses that aren't delivered using the TAP methodology, two key things appear to be missing; room for me (the learner) to think and challenge myself, and clear guidance as to what we are trying to achieve from the trainer in the form of steps to success."

Gill Honey certainly noticed a stark contrast: "Prior to implementing TAP we used an all-too-common model for assessing when we'd completed the delivery of a course - the sound of the door closing as the last of the course delegates had left.

"There was no feedback process to check whether we'd delivered a course that had met the delegates' and the business' needs.

"The first, and most important thing that TAP has brought to this is to give us something to measure against, to judge which areas we are delivering training successfully and in which areas we can make improvements."

"Using TAP has made training more participative, interactive and rewarding for both trainer and learner. Our commitment to this methodology ensures that all training is extremely effective in returning the learner to the workplace as a highly motivated, competent and confident user.

"Overall the TAP programme has enhanced the IT Training Department's reputation within News International, with the effect that a significantly larger number of departments across the company are now approaching the department to address their training needs.

"This has raised the department's profile to higher management and helped deliver a greater return on the investment in trainers and training facilities. We will continue to use it in IT Training and are currently looking at expanding the use of TAP to our management training and soft skills."

External link

For further information about the TAP programme, including competency frameworks, training programmes and FAQs visit the Training Foundation website.

Please note: Training Reference is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

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