Trevor Bradbury, associate research fellow, TRL 'A good course is one that makes learning fun and I have so far found a one day, confined spaces safety course run by ESS to be one of the most enjoyable. The morning started off with a theory session learning about hazards, working procedures for confined spaces and safety equipment, such as gas detectors.
'But it was the practical session in the afternoon which I really enjoyed. The basement of the training centre has been fitted out with a network of pipes and cubby holes. To give us an idea of how it feels to work in confined spaces we were given full face oxygen masks and sent into the darkness to put what we had learnt into practice.'
Andrew Hindmarch, project manager, Mott MacDonald 'I recently went on an internal course which really helped improve my style of management. It was run in two parts. The first, on self awareness and interpersonal skills, was followed by one about building and leading teams.
'The course taught me about my type of personality using the MyersBriggs Indicator Test and how to recognise that of others. I also learnt about the effect of my own personality style on others and how to draw out more reticent group members while controlling the more talkative.
'I am now more aware of my own strengths and weaknesses and how to build on them to enhance confidence, my influence as a manager and how to develop strategies for dealing with conflict.
The course taught me that most engineers are thinkers rather than feelers and most engineers need to work on seeing situations from the point of view of others.'
Ian Lancaster, development chemist, Nynas Bitumen 'One of the most interesting courses I have been on was the Dale Carnegie course which focuses on the softer skills required in successful human relationships. The course has five components: building self confidence, strengthening people skills, enhancing communication, developing leadership, and controlling stress.
'For me, the course helped improve the way I sell ideas to others and taught me how to bring people round to my way of thinking in such a way that they are encouraged to do what I want them to do, in the way I want them to do it. In essence, the course philosophy has made me a better manager of people and helped to remove 'I can't' thoughts from my approach to work.'
'We are trying to stay one step ahead, which requires being more interactive with clients and responding to changes in the market. A structured training programme is essential for this strategy.'