Not just partner training – it’s a career opportunity

You will hear us talking about the ‘Once in a generation shift to the cloud’ often. In the world of learning, a once in a generation shift happened a long time ago causing younger generations to choose lower-cost education over a traditional degree.  In this Q/A we’ll brainstorm about this trend and the opportunity it presents with Ian Tennant, our newly appointed Partner Training Manager, who will provide insights of our training program. Our friendly and supportive team is creating an opportunity for our partners to join us and go through our new training program, which will give them the keys for entering the world of Unified Communications, and leverage the advances of this technology in a way they might not get anywhere else at the moment.

Ian Tennant Partner Training Manager
“When teams are appropriately trained, companies save an average of $70,000 annually and receive a 10% increase in productivity. As Generation Z enters the workplace, they face an even greater skills gap, where 65% of the jobs they will need to fill don’t even exist yet”. (Read more) 

Ian, I was doing some ‘social network’ research (some call it an excuse for stalking your colleagues!), and I noticed a switch in your career which happened somewhere around 2004. Can you tell me more about it?

It was probably fate intervening. I am a physical education teacher and had always been interested in training or teaching. Back in the day, I was working as a Sales Representative for a Pharmaceutical company. This particular company put a huge emphasis on training as a competitive advantage. The opportunity arose to take a role in their training department and I never looked back. I had found my calling. I really loved working with people to help them develop the knowledge and skills to be successful.

Deloitte is considering education/training as one of the ‘fantastic five’ to work in over the next 20 years, and reskilling and retraining current workers is a big part of what we can see in the market; what do you find challenging when it comes to our industry?

For me, the main challenge being new is initially to understand the real needs of our partners from a training point of view. Truly understanding this will be critical for how we shape our training curriculum.

One of the other challenges is the speed of business. The process of signing up a new partner and onboarding can be rapid. Partners then need to be trained yesterday!  Finding the time and space to train is an ongoing challenge.

What do you think about the trend of ‘Leaders encouraging more human interaction?

In an age when we are immersed more in more in a digital world staying connected and engaging with our colleagues and customers is critical. I think its hard to beat face to face communication, but I know that it’s not always possible. A lot of human interaction can still be achieved using various digital tools we have.

What type of learners does industry recognise and how do you address these profiles in the training process?

In the corporate environment, all our learners are adults who have particular learning needs. It’s important to recognise these when designing training. Our learners come to training with life experience, even if it’s in a different field or unrelated industry it still matters to them and needs to be recognised. They are typically focused on learning relevance and how the content can help them do their job better. If it’s not relevant then they may not see the value.

The corporate learner is also time poor, so learning needs to be efficient and to the point. Learning by doing is also an important consideration.

Tell us more about the learning model you will apply to Access4 training programme?

There is a learning model called 70:20:10 which is very influential in the corporate training world. This model says that most of our learning (the 70) happens on the job and when we have to perform a task. This means that we need to look at how we can build a training curriculum, and resources to support this model. As a result, resources to support just in time training become critical. This includes videos, mobile content, knowledge bases and even coaching.

What type of learning curve will you build for our partners and us?

It’s really important that we get our partners up to speed as quickly as possible. End to end we aim to have partners trained and certified through approximately three days of training. This will be chunked down to smaller modules with our calendar allowing a partner to complete all 10 modules within two weeks.  As we digitise more of our content I expect this to reduce further and the speed to certification increasing. In trying to make the training efficient it will be important not to lose sight of the need to ensure we have partners attaining a high standard.

Learning in the digital era changed how we learn, what do you find most innovative and what ‘old school’ techniques do you believe still hold value?

Before joining Access4 I worked on a project that used Virtual Reality (VR) to train paramedics to deal with mass casualty incidents. I love using tech to do things better. I’m not big on tech for tech sake. In the case of VR it’s an emerging technology that will be a game changer because it will solve some really big training challenges.

The other exciting thing to see is the re-emergence of video as a training tool. YouTube has driven a who back to the future way of learning.

I cut my teeth as a face to face trainer and coach. I have worked on a number of projects that have successfully combined both. Together they are still one of the absolute best ways to drive performance.

Can you briefly summarise the training program you are building at the moment and when you expect the start?

It’s been exciting to work on rolling out the Access4 Partner Certification Program. The program will go live from 4 September 2018 with a curriculum that offers core modules to onboard partners. The initial training content consists of 10 core modules that cover content across Sales, Marketing, Pre Sales, Technical Support and Billing staff.

Initially, the training will be delivered in half day face to face training blocks as well as 90-minute online options.

The second phase of content development will see us blend digital content with face to face allowing for more self-service just in time learning.

What do you think is the most crucial aspect of the training process for our partners?

What will be critical is for our partners to commit to the training as part of not only the onboarding process but on an ongoing basis. We need partners to see and appreciate the value of the training to their business and to ensure they make the investment to send their staff.

Every industry has its no-no’s what’s the biggest NO in the world of training development?

Boring training content… The trainer talking too much and not engaging the learners.

What do you do when you don’t think about training?

One of my passions is Football ( the real one that some people call soccer!) I still take a keen interest as a coach at a local club. I’m really interested in what helps drive performance and develop high performers.  I guess it I’m a training junkie!

I know you have other hobbies, tell us what they are?

As mentioned, I love football and I’m also a keen cyclist. The other love is music. I have way too many CD’s and Vinyl (which is cool now) and always have music playing at home.