What can the SfEP offer, and how will it benefit you?
The SfEP runs a variety of training courses covering all kinds of skills, but something that perhaps isn't so well known is that SfEP trainers can deliver bespoke training in-house that suits your company or organisation. Here, experienced SfEP trainer Margaret Aherne describes three recent experiences of providing in-house training.
There are great advantages to this:
- you benefit from using materials that are relevant to you
- your staff benefit from having personal tuition in a small group setting
- your staff can learn from each other, where members from different departments attend the course and share their knowledge and procedures with each other
- there is often a relaxed atmosphere, as attendees feel 'at home' and are more likely to speak up, ask questions, offer examples and share their experiences, both good and bad.
It's good for the trainer, too:
- trainers can be challenged to create new materials from your own documents
- the 'at home' atmosphere often means that the attendees are relaxed and more likely to engage, which makes the trainer's job so much easier.
I particularly appreciate that the class was tweaked to suit the types of publication we worked on. It surpassed my expectations and increased my confidence greatly – I genuinely enjoyed the day.
1 An advertising agency
Objectives: To outline the principles of efficient proofreading, including an appropriate way to read text, systematic checking of page make-up and design, and the use of style sheets and checklists.
This company called for the SfEP's help to increase the confidence of their staff, who produce reports to their clients as well as copy for advertisements that would be seen by the public. They asked for training that would cover the whole array of skills from grammar and clarity of expression through to being aware of design and honing the skills of observation and analysis. The day itself was hugely enjoyable – all the attendees wanted to be there and were eager to learn techniques for improving their concentration and ability. (Let's not mention the constant supply of cake, sweets and crisps that appeared hourly as if by magic!)
I was surprised and pleased by how relevant the examples were to my own work: the content was interesting, engaging and sometimes humorous.
2 A health and safety consultancy firm
Objectives: To clarify and explain difficulties with grammar as raised by the staff.
This company requested two short sessions on grammar questions. They had compiled a list of the points with which they most frequently struggled (such as the correct use of commas, when to use the semicolon, how to cope with split infinitives). They provided me with a list of these problems beforehand, allowing time for the preparation of PowerPoint presentations showing examples that would facilitate discussion.
The attendees engaged earnestly with me in these sessions, sometimes in a rather challenging manner! It ensured fruitful and productive debate, and again was enormously satisfying.
There was a good atmosphere, with opportunity for both discussion and individual input – one of the best courses I've attended here.
3 A current affairs magazine
Objectives: To provide a grounding in the principles and practices of efficient, methodical and thorough proofreading.
The publication produced by this small publisher is already very good indeed, and it's to their credit that they asked the SfEP to provide a day's training that would clarify uncertainties, confirm what constitutes good practice, and enable the attendees to air any points on which they felt unsure. Often, people are at work daily without having had formal training, and the uncertainty they feel can slow down their work and erode their confidence. Having a day's in-house training that guided them through the publication process and tested their skills showed one thing above all: that the attendees knew what they were doing and needed simply to study it in a little more depth and allow themselves to feel more confident. With confidence comes more efficient and speedier working, as well as greater job satisfaction.
The course was very well delivered and focused on the needs of the attendees.