Are you on the right course?

In the not too distant past learning was something that you predominantly performed at school - with, perhaps, additional study during vocational training.

Sue receiving training from a younger generation!

Child with Police Officer

Today we recognise that learning is a lifelong pursuit and an enjoyable one at that. As a laboratory technician in Leeds for the past 36 years I have had access to, and attended, a number of very useful courses. Many of these have taught me transferable skills which I employ whilst on duty as a serving West Yorkshire Police Special Constable.

Firstly, there are those advertised by the Staff and Departmental Development Unit (SDDU). In the last 10 years I have attended approximately 40 of these short courses. Some are provided in-house whilst others involve online learning. Two courses I found particularly useful were the Presentation Skills course and the Interpersonal Skills course. These were excellent in assisting the development of my confidence. A few months after my husband died in 2008, I attended the women’s Springboard course. This was a lifeline in helping me to develop my personal resilience especially at such a difficult time.

There are so many courses that I've attended that it is difficult to single out other specific examples. What I can say is that I have taken away something useful from every single one of them. I recently noticed that there's now a section on the SDDU website dedicated to technical staff. This has links to courses available from other sources eg, HEaTED. I have yet to attend any of these courses but who knows in the future?

The University's mentoring scheme is also available. You can be a mentor and/or mentee – I'm currently on the  list as a mentor. There is also the possibility of becoming an external Community Mentor, their courses relating to Health and Safety, eg, first aid training and fire wardens training are also readily accessible to staff. I'm a trained fire warden and first aider – the latter has been very useful in my University and Police careers where, in both environments, I've had to deal with some very serious injuries.

When funding is available, the LOGIK centre offers access to free online courses – I have studied for three NFCE Level 2 courses - Team Leading Knowledge, Awareness of Mental Health Problems, and Counselling Skills - over the past couple of years. You can also access online Pansophix guides or free online courses - for example, Future Learn Courses - I'm currently enrolled on the Mindfulness course via this provider.

With such a plethora and variety of free courses available to all staff why not investigate today and see what you can learn!

Written by Sue Keat

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