For our latest Network Insider interview, we caught up with Josh Blake, the Network Manager of Trainers’ Learning Skillnet.
Name of Network: Trainers’ Learning Skillnet
Number of members: Approximately 300
Sector(s) covered: HRD, training, learning and development
Year established: 2008
Please describe what your network does?
The overall aim of the Trainers’ Learning Skillnet is to provide affordable and focused training to professionals within the areas of Human Resource Development (HRD), Training, and Learning & Development (L&D), to contribute to their continuous professional development.
Trainers’ Learning Skillnet is promoted by the Irish Institute of Training and Development (IITD), the professional association which has represented the Training and HRD Profession in Ireland since 1969 and has over 2,000 members.
Can you outline one key way your network impacted positively on the sector?
Trainers’ Learning Skillnet provides the platform for L&D practitioners to network, collaborate and promote industry best-practice by showcasing their skills and competencies. In association with the IITD, we are at the forefront of producing L&D research which bridges the gap between theory and practice. This research is conducted in association with highly accomplished academics from educational institutes to better inform industry and make a tangible link between research and practice.
Furthermore, through the specific training we provide, L&D professionals can be accredited on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), ensuring they are equipped with current and relevant knowledge and skills.
What has been the most transformative initiative in your sector in the last year?
With the co-operation of the IITD, Trainers’ Learning Skillnet has contributed to the development of a new competency framework, which applies to the entire learning and development industry. As a result of compiling the updated framework, Trainers’ Learning Skillnet assisted in designing training which keeps L&D professionals up-to-date and equips them with new and relevant skills, tying both people and business skills together to contribute to an organisation’s overall business strategy.
Two of our innovative short-term programmes, ‘Strategic Business Partnering’ and ‘Internal Consultancy Skills’, equip L&D professionals with the above-mentioned skills, but also help them to communicate effectively, and with impact, at boardroom level.
What new trends do you see emerging within your industry?
It is envisaged that the L&D industry will continue to make greater use of technology. We are already experiencing a good uptake in organisations using augmented reality and artificial intelligence, and we expect that trend to continue upwards.
We also expect to see an increase in self-directed learning, enabling employees to maximise their development potential. In doing so, learners can choose their own preferences, pave their own learning pathways and set their own curriculum. Social learning, the concept that new behaviours can be acquired by observing and imitating others, is also continuing to increase in popularity.
What skills do you think are most important for a small business owner/manager?
The current business climate is increasingly centred around the knowledge economy, so it is very important for SMEs to have the expertise to identify people’s knowledge and educational needs. Spotting skills gaps among their employees is crucial and helping them to bridge that gap allows the employer to retain loyal staff rather than spend time and money constantly recruiting. By aiding their employees’ continuous development, the business is keeping their employees focused but also satisfied. A person who’s constantly learning and developing is a happy person!
Do you have any advice for a business that is considering joining a Skillnet Network?
With the diversity of networks operating, it is crucial that a business identifies the objectives of why they want to join a Skillnet Network, and then they should conduct research to find the most relevant network to suit their needs. It is also vital that the business wants to assist in the upskilling of their current staff and is keen to form a strong affiliation with their network.