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A week in the life of a training manager


Niall GavinTrainingZONE has invited members to share experiences by contributing descriptions of "A day in the life of a training manager". Niall Gavin, IT Training Manager for Sussex Police, has gone a step further and shared a week with us.


First day back after two weeks’ annual leave – have kept today clear for post-holiday catch-up.

Booked onto our SAP HR system at 08:50 - only 170 e-mails to get through! – snail mail post is mostly junk mail – Application form from Institute of IT Training for Awards 2003 (need to start work on this a.s.a.p.).

Looks like I need to have fairly urgent checkpoint meetings with two groups of trainers working on two separate ICT Projects

One trainer popped head in to arrange checkpoint at 14:00. Other trainer from other project came in for half an hour to discuss concerns and progress on other project, prior to arranging a joint checkpoint meeting with other trainer.

11:30 Having read all e-mails and disposed of non-urgent, now working my way through all others in my “Pending” folder and actioning as required. Read all relevant e-mails in relation to the two projects currently in hand, in preparation for this afternoon’s checkpoint meetings.

Updated my “Outlook” calendar and re-synchronised with my Psion Organiser.

12:30 – 13:00 Lunch – cheese scone at my desk, surfing the net – EasyJet availability for visit to Scotland in November / “Train-Net” magazine / in-house intranet Weekly Orders.

13:30 Checkpoint meeting with Project 1 trainers

14:00-15:00 Checkpoint meeting with Project 2 trainers

Wrote up meeting notes and distributed to relevant trainers.

Continued actioning e-mails.

Booked off at 17:00 and went home. Went meteor-spotting in the country in the late evening, to try to catch sight of the “Perseids”. Saw about 2 dozen in an hour and a half. In bed by 01:00.


Got up this morning, thinking about keeping this diary for the week. Opened my mail at home to receive feedback from the University of Brighton Business School on my recent Portfolio submission for the Chartered Management Institute Diploma in Management, which I have been studying since last October.

08:45 Collected my Portfolio from UoB Business School plus application form for next year’s level five course which I am considering, on my way into work.

Booked on at work at 09:20. Read and disposed of 5 new e-mails. Only 48 left in my “Pending” folder!

Colleague popped in to arrange meeting re National (Centrex) Centre Approval next week.

Invoice from our Conference Centre, for buffet and hire of venue for Institute of IT Training SE Regional Group meeting (which I hosted and chaired) in July, received in internal post. Phoned the Group Treasurer and put invoice in post for her to pay.

10:30 Created and prioritised my To Do list. Now starting to work through the activities:

1. Read/prepare Board Papers for Project Board tomorrow.

2. Prepare for IITT Department Accreditation Inspection on Friday.

3. Sort out the organisation’s bids for IT training for the period October 02 – Mar 03; factor in training schedule dates for Projects 1 & 2 and enough slack for Projects 3 and 4 which will commence during that period; plan trainer and training schedules; send out allocation letters to Departmental and Divisional Personnel & Training Managers.

4. Start planning for recruitment of two new trainers to cover two staff leaving on a career break in 2003.

5. Arrange remaining Appraisal and Trainer Observation sit-in dates for those of my trainers still outstanding.

6. Plot in the fortnightly checkpoint meeting dates and times with the project trainers.

12:00 Meeting with Project Manager for Project 1 re. requirements for a particular 4-week training module. Both trainers joined at 12:30. The application supports a critical area of the business of policing, but my trainers do not have the specialist business knowledge required to contextualise the ICT skills training. An ex-trainer from the business area has been made available to assist my trainers in understanding the business during the two weeks they have to prepare the training package for the resulting two-day course. I have reserved the right to not proceed with the course if we are not properly prepared.

13:00 Reviewed Stage Plan for another project, suggesting training needs be considered more fully.

13:30 – 15:30 Continued sifting through remaining e-mails. Dropped into my Team’s office for a coffee and a chat with those around. I try to do this every day, at a time when I know the trainers will be on a break.

15:30 – 15:45 Returned telephone call from outside agency requesting assistance with training on Police National Computer. Had to turn it away, due to current volume of in-house demand and stretched resources. Did, however, refer him to National Police Training (Centrex).

15:45 – 16:00 My Boss dropped in for a chat, catching up on activity whilst I have been on leave. No urgent tasks resulting!

16:00 – 17:00 Dealt with more e-mails. Only 14 left!

17:00 Home


Booked on at 09:00. Preparation for Project Board Meeting at 10:00 – print out all papers, prepare my discussion notes for the “Training” item on the Agenda.

10:00 – 11:30 Project Board Meeting. Approved Stage 2 of Project Plan, with couple of amendments relating to training products, e.g the Training Strategy is not fully finalised and needs to incorporate some of the Stage 2 deliverables. Discussed training resourcing for Stage 2, including trainers and venue. Came away from the meeting with 6 separate actions! Must try harder! They will have to wait until next week before I can pursue them.

Spoke for half an hour on the ‘phone with one of my trainers who is off long-term sick, but now working from home. Discussed her support for one of the other IT Training Projects and her possible involvement in another one later in the year. She’s having problems with our dial-in service, as the software on the laptop is incompatible with later versions being used across other parts of the organisation. Haven’t got the budget to buy a new one, so will have to try and facilitate a loan from someone else. Have agreed to liaise within the fortnight about her ability to travel either into work here at HQ or into a more local Police Station with the appropriate facilities for her to be able to be effective.

12:00 – 12:30 Lunch – soup and roll in HQ Restaurant.

12:30 – 17:00 Working on preparation for the Institute of IT Training’s Accreditation Inspection visit on Friday. Have we addressed the action points from last year’s report? What are they going to be looking for in this year’s visit?

17:00 Went Home

18:00 At home, logged onto and updated the SE Regional Group pages on the IITT website with the agenda and speaker details for our AGM in September (I’m currently Chair of the SE Group). Sent a mail to our group e-mail address informing the members of the update.


Late start today, as I’m being trained in the evening to be a “Deputy Officer in Charge” of Casualty Bureau, which we have to set up in the event of a major incident (train crash, etc). Traditionally these roles are taken by my fellow training managers who are also police officers. However, I have now worked several such Casualty Bureaus (most recently the Sarah Payne enquiry) in other roles and am now considered capable of the DOIC role. So, booked on at 12:30 today, having spent the morning at home with my children.

E-mailed those 4 of my 10 trainers with whom I have not yet done their annual appraisal (Professional Development review or “PDR”) nor organised an observation sit-in on a training session. Arranged dates with two more trainers for next week.

Worked through my to do list and paid particular attention to tomorrow morning’s IITT re-Accreditation Inspection.

Wrote a report for IITT Assessor detailing progress against the follow-up actions identified in last year’s Accreditation Report. Printed out all supporting documentation and prepared myself for discussions which will result.

16:30 Read through relevant section of Casualty Bureau manual in preparation for commencement of my CB DOIC training course this evening.

17:30 – 20:00 Casualty Bureau Deputy Officer in Charge training session run by my colleagues in the Training Support Unit, who own the Casualty Bureau for the Force. Other attendees were two Inspectors (training managers) and an ex-police sergeant who now works on the SAP Team.

Training was run in a facilitative manner, using lots of questions and allowing me to learn from colleagues who have already got some experience of the role. Having read the manual before the course, I was able to “keep my end up”, and gained much from the session.

I’m now on the Call-Out Rota, and will have the responsibility of being DOIC for a week once every 6 or 7 weeks, carrying the CB pager and being expected to supervise the set up of the Bureau if required to do so by the Senior Commander of any Major Incident.

20:00 Booked off and went home.


Booked on at 09:00.

Big day today – Institute of IT Training Re-accreditation Inspection! Preparation for the Assessors’ visit included notifying Training Reception that I was expecting visitors at 10:30, photocopying my report and supporting documentation, binding the originals and ensuring that I was prepared to talk about the issues which might arise in our discussion.

10:25 Notified by Reception that my guest/s had arrived. Went down to meet them and brought them up to my office. Offered tea/coffee and then got down to it.

Discussion centred around the Action Plan attached to last year’s accreditation report and my Unit’s compliance. Was able to talk to my report and evidence where we were compliant, where we were partially compliant and where we are not compliant.

Brief lunch break at 12:00, then back into it at 12:30. Having reviewed last year’s action plan, the Assessors wanted to look at our front-end processes – notably Needs Analysis and Trainer Development. I was able to discuss our PDR process for identifying individual training needs - which are captured by the local P&T Managers and fed into the centre on a six-monthly training portfolio bidding cycle - and also the TNA processes which support any new IT project. I was also able to provide supporting documentary evidence.

Finally, we looked at our in-house trainer development processes and again, I was able to talk confidently about my own Unit’s development routes, supported by the in-house TD Plan documentation.

14:30 After being invited to make any other comments or ask any supplementary questions, the inspection visit concluded, and I escorted my guests off the premises! Their report will be completed and sent back to me within 20 working days. I’m hopeful of achieving re-accreditation for my Unit, but realistically expect there to be some follow-up actions included in the deal! I’ll report back in a month’s time.

15:00 – 16:00 Doing some gentle e-mail housekeeping to wind down at the end of what has been an intense and demanding week.

In the best traditions of “the Reflective Practitioner” then, time to consider the week – What Did I Do? What Did I Learn? What am I going to do with that knowledge? And When?

I think I managed to balance my time between being reactive to issues that have arisen during my two week annual leave and proactive in regard to meetings and sorting out my priority tasks over the coming weeks. I have now managed to book time with everyone in my team either for a Project Checkpoint meeting or for a PDR meeting before the end of August.

I’m pleased with the way the IITT Accreditation Visit went today, and very interested to hear that other Training Managers are facing similar issues to those with which I find myself struggling – demand v. resource v. budget. Any commentary which the Institute makes regarding these organisational pressures and their impact on my service delivery will inform my 2003-4 budget building plans later this year.

16:00 In the meantime, I’m off home. Bit of gardening (hack back the undergrowth and cut the grass!) and a trip to the supermarket in preparation for hosting a barbecue on Sunday. Back to work for a rest on Monday.

Thanks for listening.

Niall Gavin, FIITT
IT Training Manager
Sussex Police


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