The present and future of training and development

Ilaria Spiteri Axiak

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Ilaria Spiteri Axiak joined Misco as a freelancer and office administrator

The pandemic has proved to be a time where everyone, in one way or another, had to change the things that we did normally

People resorted to online shopping, virtual calls were made to meet with and talk to family members regularly and even businesses and organisations changed the way they work.

Working from home has definitely become the trend and virtual meetings also became a trend – locally and overseas. Luckily, this came at a time when the internet is considered to be a necessity. However, did we need a pandemic to resort to this method of working?

Misco Consulting Ltd has been organising courses in their training rooms since 1983. Since then, Misco also became an accredited and licensed centre, offering accredited programmes as well as short open professional training programmes.

Companies and individuals have been benefitting from these training services since. It was always important for Misco to be equipped with training rooms that are large and spacious to be able to cater for the various requirements of our clients who attended training sessions. It is safe to say that since March 2020, these have been put to no use.

On Thursday, 12 March, government announced the closure of schools and we felt that it was our utmost responsibility to do the same – close our training rooms and commence delivering online training. How did we do this? Providing online training has been an incredible journey for us – one that we have embarked on and is still ongoing. We are learning from the process we have implemented, to improve our services for the benefit of all individuals who have come to Misco for their training requirements.

It started off by launching a training platform. On this platform, we provided webinars on demand: one-way training material which one could follow in one’s own time. The whole migration process took an impressive five weeks, which we would not have achieved without our IT team to help set it all up and our expert trainers who contributed to populating the platform with these courses.

In the meantime, accredited programmes were ongoing and did not come to a halt. We found several resources to be able to organise such virtual sessions online, with the required features to keep our sessions interactive, as is our style.

Misco believes in training sessions to be completely interactive. There is constant interaction going on between the trainer and trainees. Moreover, a great deal of training material is provided to strengthen the interaction of the sessions, which is constantly being referred to during the sessions. Sessions are informal, as we encourage individuals to make a coffee, sit back and enjoy the discussions they would be about to have.

There are many pros and cons to this method of training. First, not being able to see the individual in person has been quite challenging, due to the fact that body language cannot be read properly via a camera. However, it is very convenient as individuals do not need to travel to Misco and can follow training from the comfort of their own home.

It is also easier for one to be distracted during a session and start checking emails or do other things at their computer while they should be following the session. However, Misco strongly emphasises participant interaction and encourages individuals to be sure their microphone and camera are working for full participation.

Another challenge is that the sense of isolation is more real, but it also comes along with self-discipline. The fact that one has signed up for the training programme means that one wants to do this training. This has enabled persons to improve their skills and enhance their employability during the pandemic.

I believe that online training is definitely the way forward for us all. Due to the flexibility and accessibility of this training method, people in Malta and other countries have benefitted from our training services from the comfort of their own home. Many relationships have also developed among trainees. Misco has definitely become more efficient in this manner.

However, we do miss the training room and the joy of a face-to-face discussion. Therefore, the future is likely to be a mix of online and classroom training.

Ilaria Spiteri Axiak joined Misco as a freelancer and office administrator in 2019 after obtaining her B (Hons) Dance Studies from the University of Malta in 2014 and her Diploma in Facilitating Inclusive Education in 2018. She is currently reading a Masters in Education. Illaria then joined Misco on a full-time basis as a Training and Development executive, specialising in course writing as well as completing the administrative role in the training department. Ilaria is also a trainer with Misco, specialising in areas of Communication, Interpersonal Relationships, Selling Techniques, Project Management, Training, Talent Development and Job Coaching.

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