Training design skills keep English rugby refs on the ball
The Rugby Football Union reports that an increasing number of teams and players are entering the game in England at the community level. Halting a previous decline, the community game is now bouncing back with 86 new adult teams being formed and over 6,600 new adult players taking part.
The RFU say that excellence in refereeing is a key factor in the retention of players within the game at all levels, and in recent years the organisation has dedicated a great deal of time, effort and resources to referee training and development.
Andy Melrose is a Referee Development Officer at the RFU. He is passionate about the game and the contribution that well-trained referees make to the health of the game and to the safety of players: "We want to ensure that the game is played in the safest possible environment - so the players can play next week.
"We also want to ensure that the players can enjoy the match - so they want to play next week. We also want referees who are competent and relish what they do. These are the reasons why the RFU is committed to the ongoing development of well structured and vibrant training programmes for all match officials."
From the outset Melrose recognised that it would be essential to win over hearts and minds with these training initiatives. "We work with a large number of volunteers and could not simply dictate. Without goodwill we would lose the benefit of the huge amount of work done by these invaluable people."
Melrose had previously completed the Delivery Skills Refresher Course in 2002, achieving the TAP® certificate in Training Delivery Skills. "This seized my interest because it provided well evolved mechanisms for objective assessment of the delivery process, placing due emphasis on delegate participation rather than tutor presentation."
In February 2003 Melrose enrolled on a further course offered by The Training Foundation leading to the TAP Certificate in Training Design and Development Skills.
According to Melrose the benefits were immediately apparent once he returned to work: "I found the knowledge and skills provided through participation in the TAP Training Design and Development course invaluable when upgrading the training process for match officials.
"I have already redesigned the two major training courses for our referees using much of the TAP methodology. There is a clear structure and logic which we have been able to translate into significant positive change.
"Progress has been gradual but we have now filtered the concepts behind the programme into many aspects of our planning and delivery. We are currently producing a new assessment form that will give the trainers even more valuable feedback on their training delivery.
"In the long term I hope that all of the Development Officers in the Referee Department and our Regional Trainers will be able to undergo training under the auspices of the TAP programme."
For further information about the TAP programme, including competency frameworks, training programmes and FAQs visit the Training Foundation website.
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