Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.
Your boss needs that PowerPoint presentation for tomorrow morning but you don't remember how to animate the slides the way she wants them. Time is short and nerves are fraying...
All too often, it seems, training alone isn’t enough. Cambridge-based Roem Ltd recognises the importance of follow-up and support – and that is what differentiates it from many other training providers.
The company's principal, Karen Roem, explains: "A great amount of learning is required outside and following formal training. This is why I offer a month’s free support on any topics learned, ensuring staff have the support they need when they need it – that is, at the time they want to apply what they've learned in an effective and productive way on the job.
"I believe support isn’t something that’s offered as a matter of course by many other training companies, so what often happens is that colleagues help one another. The result is that, unconsciously and with the best will in the world, incompetent people help others become the same."
The course fee for all Roem's 'off the shelf' training includes a free handout with exercise files and one month's post-course advice on the topics covered. So, when a course participant is back in the office and has to tackle an unfamiliar task, that individual will be able to retrieve what they've learned and integrate it into their existing work – or ask for help if necessary.
Karen – author of Cambridge Network's popular Tame your computer series – adds: "For almost 16 years now I’ve advertised my firm as offering software training and support. My logo and its components (a fishhook and bubbles) have all evolved from Confucius’ quote: 'Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.'"
Specialising in Microsoft Office and Opentext Content Server training, Karen and her team offer hands-on and hands-off computer courses, either in-house at companies' own offices or at Roem's premises in Cambridge. And with increasing pressure on businesses to maximise resources and optimise training, she has three top tips:
1. Keep it local. (Do you really need to be spending money to send staff to training courses in London?)
2. Think about half-day courses. (A great deal can be accomplished in just a few hours. After all, how many pointless meetings last this long?)
3. Cherry-pick topics. (Although the IT training industry has been built on the model of selling complete courses, many people already have a good percentage of skills, which means they will be better off learning exactly what they need rather than sitting through a standard full-day course.)