PIU are delivering practitioner training to around 20 members of staff each year; yet we have no standard method to support past trainees and there are very few opportunities for past trainees to assist one another with their process improvement (PI) activities. We fear that this can result in reduced engagement in process improvement or past trainees carrying out process improvements in isolation without support.
We wanted to discuss with past trainees some of the barriers/problems they had experienced when carrying out process improvement and ideas on how PIU can better support them both with regards to completing their project and their long term process improvement activities.
So this week, I invited past trainees to a focus group where we brainstormed and discussed problems they had experienced and in groups came up with many ideas for ways PIU could help to mitigate some of these and ideas that the trainees themselves could take forward.
Key Problems Identified and possible solutions:
- Trainees are not clear about the likely amount of time required to complete their project - PIU will outline more clearly how much time previous trainees have needed and encourage them to scope down to what they can manage in the short term.
- There is limited time to complete the project alongside the day job - PIU and the trainee could discuss the training with the trainee’s manager to encourage understanding and support for the resource required
- The project hand in date is not always realistic and doesn’t always account for busy periods - PIU will negotiate project hand in dates with individual trainees
- Limited management buy-in and support for PI in trainee areas - The trainee’s manager could sponsor them to take part in the training;
- Limited time allowed to carry out PI - PIU could work more closely with the trainee and their manager to identify achievable areas for improvement;
- Limited physical space for trainees to run workshops etc. - PIU could offer to share our room more widely for PI activities;
- Trainees can feel quite isolated as there is no easy way of keeping in touch with other trainees or PIU - Develop an internal community, managed by PIU, that will allow past trainee’s to keep in touch with PIU and each other to discuss any achievements or problems they have or are experiencing.
- Training resources are not always easy to find and can not be signposted for others that have not attended the training - Develop a resources tool-kit that can be easily accessed by all
Further key points included:
Many of the trainees be happy to help each other co-facilitate if their managers allowed and would be happy to represent ‘The Community’ at the Steering Group. They all strongly agreed that it would be a benefit if the course was accredited.
What will PIU do next?
- Gater wider opinion and prioritise the possible solutions with a short questionnaire to all past practitioner trainees
- Investigate what platforms would be the most appropriate for an online ‘Community’
- Arrange the first ‘Community meeting’ as an opportunity to update past trainees on improvements PIU have made or will be making to the way we support and engage with past trainees
I would like to say a huge thank you to all those that attended, your input was invaluable!