The National Archives
Train The Trainer Case Study
The National Archives
Situation 

                

The National Archives (NA) is the official archive and publisher for the UK government. Specialists from different areas at NA are required to deliver training to a diverse range of delegates, including other NA Specialists as well as members of the public (for example, academics, researchers and members of special-interest societies).

The leadership team at NA identified a need to standardise the approach taken on these events, and engaged Capita to set up a Train the Trainer programme. Capita engaged People Vision, and People Vision associate Julia Wallis led on the project. Julia has over ten years’ experience as a professional trainer and a background in sales and marketing, meaning that she was well placed to advise on both the branding of the events and the techniques of the individual trainers.


Challenge

There was no consistency across the organisation in terms of the methodology, content and delivery style of the training events. This was partly because none of the Specialists had any formal training in this area, and partly because the subject matter was often highly complex and was aimed at delegates with varying levels of knowledge and a wide range of needs. The Specialists also have pressurised working lives which allow little time to prepare for these events.

It was important therefore to find techniques to enhance the Specialists’ delivery style and processes to standardise their approach which reduced their preparation time rather than adding to their workload.


Action

Julia ran a 2-day course for 12 delegates, who had prepared session plans for courses on a variety of topics, including:

  • How to access information using the NA system.

  • How the archives work.

  • The history, rules and regulations of archiving.

 

Most of the Specialists naturally adopted a presenter-led style, highly dependent on PowerPoint slides, more like an academic lecture than a conventional training session. Julia therefore focused heavily on facilitation skills, and strategies and techniques to make their sessions more interactive.

Other topics included:

  • The nature of end-to-end training.

  • Conducting a Training Needs Analysis and the use of diagnostic tools.

  • Setting learning outcomes, and how to make them observable, measurable and achievable.

  • Using blended approaches and catering for different styles and preferences among the delegate group.

  • Methods for evaluating events.


Results

Each Specialist worked with Julia to draw up a personalised development plan, and each will receive ongoing 1-to-1 mentoring and coaching from People Vision to support the development of their skills as a trainer.

To address issues uncovered during the event, the NA has initiated projects to:

  • Review the Training Needs Analysis process in order to group delegates into clusters according to their backgrounds and needs.

  • Re-design all courses on a standardised format.

Train the Trainer courses are scheduled to become part of the mandatory training programme for all NA Specialists.

As a result of the positive feedback from this event, People Vision were approached by the NA’s Training Manager to run a second course on the same model with a different group of delegates.
 

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