Creating Bespoke Training Courses with Customers
By: David Gardiner, TDI senior consultant and trainer
The TDI website gives a lot of information about the various options available for staff training, including a whole page dedicated to Bespoke Courses. This short article is intended to provide some more detail about how we work closely with our customers to ensure they get exactly what they, and their organisation, need in their training package.
The process generally starts with an enquiry via the website, a direct email or a phone call from a prospective customer. The TDI office will usually suggest that the enquirer has a one-to-one consultation with a consultant to firm up their requirements. That consultation, which may be a phone call or (preferably) a web meeting on Zoom or Teams, can take as long as necessary and is absolutely without any obligation to proceed to a booking. The discussions are always enjoyable (at least for me, I can’t speak for the customers) and we always learn something, whether we carry on working with the organisation or not.
Refining The Detail
The consultation is followed up with a detailed costing and outline of the proposed training: how long the course will be, whether it’s face to face or on-line, what the content looks like, preferred dates, and the scoping of any requested materials.
The TDI website has a list of modules we commonly use in training events. I’ll concentrate here on two other issues: how we can sometimes add new material to meet specific customer needs and our overall approach to creating a nicely balanced, enjoyable and useful training experience for participants.
Getting The Balance On Content
In all our bespoke training events we try to cover three elements. In addition to talking about sex offenders and their offences, we look at practice development and at self care for staff, whether they are working in a generic environment or they are interacting with identified offenders.
We suggest some ideas for good practice that participants might want to use in their own work. We also recommend the inclusion of a session on how participants can look after themselves - and each other – in the workplace, bearing in mind that most of the people we meet are in roles which come with a significant amount of stress. The content of these two parts of our training events – practice development and self-care for staff – is tailored from a range of options and, once again, we are happy to develop new material on request.
How We Build A Module
Thinking back to how we came to develop and design our most recent training modules, they either arose from individual consultations with potential customers or as a result of TDI picking up on emerging developments in the wider world. Most obviously, these led us to create a whole new course on sexual harassment in the workplace. In that example, however, the TDI angle is slightly different to that of most other harassment training in that we relate it to our primary focus on sexual offending. We point out how fine the line can be between harassment (generally a civil law or workplace misconduct matter) and a criminal charge.
Another example was a training package that required a significant amount of research into the Criminal Justice system in the Republic of Ireland. We never set out to teach customers the finer details of their own day to day roles, but it’s always essential to know something about the context and constraints of their work. We were already used to varying our training to reflect the differences in the legal systems in England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
An example - Illegal images of children
Our module on illegal images of children came about in a different way, from two customers who were engaged in finding employment for ex-offenders and a charity teaching circus skills, worried that their website graphics might attract the wrong sort of interest. As a result, the module on illegal images gives an overview of the categories currently used in the courts but also looks at a different scale, one that is more indicative of the nature of a subject’s interest and, thus, the risk they might pose. In summary, it’s not just about the images themselves, some of which may be perfectly legal, we also consider what the owner has done with them: are they curated as a “collection”? have they been shared with others? If so, is there any correspondence around that? Depending on the customer, we can also use that module to look at photography policies in organisations open to the public and how to protect the identity and images of staff, volunteers and visitors.
As a charity, we keep our prices as low as we can whilst giving our customers the best possible level of tailoring to their needs. We look for ways to work with small under-resourced organisations as well as big robust companies and charities, so whatever your needs, if you are interested in TDI’s bespoke training options as advertised on the website, don’t hesitate, get in touch and we’ll have a chat about it.