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Live and learn: what training can do for you

Published June 13th, 2018

The Learning and Development team, as you can probably guess, are the part of Human Resources who are concerned with our potential as employees here in Trinity. Each year they devise a comprehensive programme of opportunities for staff to strengthen their skillset and build their competencies.

One staff member who was keen to upskill this year is administrative staff member Jo McNamara. “I was promoted to school manager nine months ago after being a senior executive officer and an executive officer before that. I was worried that my knowledge of best practice was limited and so I was eager to learn,” says Jo, who is based in the School of Creative Arts.

Practical skills
Jo, who did courses such as HR Manager Series and Oracle training, feels that investing time in her own development has really paid off. “The training has been invaluable in providing me with the tools to become a skilled and confident administrator, well versed in policies and appropriate procedures. I have learned time-keeping, email management, project management and many more practical skills.”

In addition to that, the training allowed her to develop her soft skills, such as assertiveness and collegiality. “Accessing training helped me prepare for a long-term career as an administrator within Trinity,” she says.

Academic staff member Mark Faulkner availed of the Professional Skills for Research Leaders programme this year. What he liked about it was that it was based around the individual’s needs rather than trying to take a one-size-fits-all approach.

One of the areas Mark wanted to know more about was networking. “For me, in arts humanities, the tradition has been for the individual researcher pursuing their own projects. Increasingly, though, funding is directed towards collaboration so that was one of the things I wanted to focus on.”

Mark felt the benefits of his masterclasses straightaway. “I’ve gotten stuff out of it already – it shaped how I ended up approaching the year in terms of thinking about priorities. I was also quite struck by the module on publication and impact – how to get the most out of the research you’re doing.”

Continuous learning has led to greater opportunities for Mark and says the training offered in Trinity compares very favourably to his previous employers.

“My first job out of PhD was in UCC. There was really no kind of structured training available, it was just kind of ‘here’s what we want you to teach now get on with it’.  Then I moved to Sheffield – there were bits and pieces there that you could do but nothing as organised as this.”

Jo concurs and would recommend any other administrative staff to take up the offer of training. “Even if you don’t know if the session will be relevant for your job, the facilitator might raise a pertinent point that you didn’t think of, that might improve your working life on a daily basis. The shared experiences of other attendees can also inform solutions to local issues. I would not have felt confident to progress through grades or apply for promotions without some of the learnings I garnered from attending HR training.”

Photo: Jo McNamara photographed in the School of Creative Arts

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