There is a world of difference between possessing knowledge and skills and the ability to teach it to others
'Thank heavens that's finished. Can you believe they said I have to do this once a year - once a lifetime is enough!'
You may well have said something like this recently as you finished one of your trust's 'statutory training' sessions in, for example, data protection, the annual fire update, manual handling or risk management.
What is it that makes us want to avoid this so-called training so much? We all know its importance but sessions still generally have woeful attendance rates.
In my career, I have enjoyed many courses. Probably the top of my list is one I did last year at Manchester Business School culminating in an MSc. Many of you who went away to study for your first degree will also probably have enjoyed your experience.
Now contrast those fond memories with your feelings towards statutory training. What is the difference?
First, there is a world of difference between possessing knowledge and skills and the ability to teach it to others.
Learning to teach
Many subject experts simply cannot train. Droning on for hours to monotonous PowerPoint presentations does not equate to a learning experience. Trainers should know their reputation precedes them. Good or bad, you can be sure if you are a trainer that just about everyone will hold the same opinion about you, whether they have been on your course or not.
You can choose your degree, but your statutory training may be the last thing you feel like doing. Attending something when you really don't want to will ensure your mind will be elsewhere after the first 11 seconds. Afterwards, your folder of 'resources', the size of a telephone directory, ends up on a shelf with a dozen other such edifices.
I am a great advocate of learning and development - but only when it is done properly. That is what lies behind our decision to implement a new system of 'staff juries' at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals trust. Staff who have previously attended seminars, lectures or other off-the-job training programmes will attend again and assess whether the quality has improved enough to justify the subject expert being allowed to continue training staff.
If the experts do not demonstrate sufficient aptitude for training, we will ask other professional trainers to deliver their material either for them or with them.
Someone once said to me that a surgeon is privileged to be able to lay their scalpel on a patient. In the same way, I believe that experts are privileged to be allowed access to train our minds. That privilege should be earned, not assumed.