On February 10, you requested me to research on various ways our university will enhance in-job training for technical staff working in all the branches of the University. We agreed that the project should take not more than three months from the commencement date. Moreover, it was to include three stages:
Stage 1: Make inquiries from competing universities
Stage 2: Conduct a survey to all technical staff of the University
Stage 3: Research secondary sources on types of technical training
Stage 3: Conduct interviews to some of our technical employees.
Having completed the first and second phase, this report will, therefore, detail the progress achieved, from February 10, 2017, to April 10, 2017. The goal is to come up with various ways of conducting in-job training and assess the probable benefits and limitations of conducting in-job training for our technical employees. The amount of money and time used in conducting the training should compare with the potential benefits. Moreover, the type of training used for our technical employees should be in line with our University policy and should not collide with working hours. The observation I have done so far is that the plan will provide myriad new ways to put into consideration for our technical training program.
In the initial two weeks of the project, I made extensive phone interviews with people from different rival universities concerning their training their universities had adopted. Then in the third week, I composed and disseminated a training questionnaire to all technical employees working in our university.
I contacted three universities that are regarded the best internationally: Harvard School of Business, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Cape Town (the best in African continent).
1. Harvard School of Business
I had a phone conversation with Professor Harry Roland, who happens to be the training director at Harvard School of Business on February 25, 2017. His response was that his university owes most of its success to internal training workshops. He further detailed to me that the University has made it mandatory that each technical employee attends numerous workshops lasting two or three days every year. To save on the amount of money used by the university on the workshops, most of the workshops are conducted in the school grounds and uses in-house experts. Moreover, it also invites external consultants to tackle the areas where the university lacks an in-house expert capable of handling. He informed me that the University spends approximately $5000 in technical training. He was, however, quick to inform me that they do not regret using such a huge chunk of money because the end justifies the means. He told me that the university, in turn, benefits a lot from the training. For instance, since the university started training employees on the importance of saving water and energy, the university water and electricity bills have since reduced because wastage of the same as gone down as well.
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
On February 28, 2017, I had a phone conversation with Jan Tyler, Dean of Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jan response echoed that of Harry Roland in that he also said that the university relies heavily on internal seminars. However, the in-house training adopted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology differs from the one used by Harvard School of Business in that it spreads this workshops over one or two weeks instead of having intensive training courses covering one or two days. The university also provides brief technical awareness during lunch hours after every fortnight. Technical experts drawn from the University offer informal presentations on certain aspects of their field or research work. Tyler also informed me that the benefits accruing from the technical training are many and the University does not view it as an expense but rather an investment. He told me that teamwork has now increased and the employees have identified themselves with the organization culture where they feel as being part of the organization rather than employees. This, he informed me has increased the efficiency in service delivery and the stakeholders are happy.
3. The University of Cape Town
Lastly, on 1 March 2017, I had a phone interview with Mosely Newt, personnel coordinator at the University of Cape Town. Surprisingly, Newt informed me that the training program adopted by the University has remained intact for the last two decades. A majority of technical employees at top-level managerial positions attend a single seminar each year. The seminar is usually funded by the University in conjunction with professional societies. In contrast, other technical employees acquire little training past what is offered on the job. According to Newt, in-house training has not augured well with the university mostly due to schedule conflicts with their normal jobs. When I asked me why they the university is slow to adopt the technical training strategy, he said that the company policy does not allow, and the university has never seen the need for it. When I asked him whether the university would change its stand on technical training, he informed me that that answer lies with the top management. In general, although this phone conversation did not give me the much-needed information on technical training strategy adopted by the University, it opened my eyes to the dangers of not having one. For instance, going by the responses I got from Newt, I could tell that he was detached from the university; he did not feel himself being part of the organization. He seemed to have low work morale and could not imagine how the employees who did not qualify for the technical training fared.
Research on Secondary Sources
Secondary sources have proven to be a relevant source of information for researchers. To this end, the university library has proven to very resourceful since it has numerous published journals that provide the information that I was seeking. To avoid wasting time going through all the journal articles that touched on the issue of technical training, I conducted a systematic literature review according to my inclusion and exclusion criteria, and with this, I narrowed down to only ten journal articles. Some of the articles are case studies of the types of technical training used in corporations across the world and therefore provides training methods that have been tested to work. Moreover, they provide information on how organizations can save on cost and time when conducting technical training. Further, they also provide evidence that the eventual benefits that firms that adopt different methods of technical get surpass the cost and time spent by the organization.
The information unearthed during my research on secondary sources is very informative and instrumental. This information has helped me determine the direction that I need to follow and has helped me identify the information that I need to gather during the internal survey, helped formulate the questionnaires to be used in the internal survey.
Having finished with the phone conversations mentioned above and researching the secondary sources on various ways of conducting technical training, I embarked on the survey stage of the project. On 15 March, I completed formulating the questionnaire, had it photocopied, and disseminated it together with a cover letter to all over a thousand technical employees working in our university. I gave them two weeks to fill them up, and they were to be returned to me by the end of last month. However, only about two-thirds of the employees met the deadline and was forced to extend the deadline by another two weeks. The ones that were returned are now in my office, and I am in the process of perusing them.
Having completed the phone interviews and distributing the questionnaire, I envision the following work plan for finishing the project.
April 15, 2017: Survey returned
May 1 - 15 2017: Survey evaluated
May 16 25 2017 travel to all university campuses to interview some of our technical employees
May 30: Submitting the completed project report to you.
The interview I conducted with the three universities ranked amongst the best in the world offered me a good perspective for what technical training could be the most suitable for our technical employees. Currently, I am hoping the surveys that have not reached me will do so within the course of this week. This stage is a prerequisite for the on-site interviews to be carried out later this month. It is my belief that such a major corporate endeavor will enhance our technical training significantly.
I am looking forward to hearing your suggestions regarding the work that I have carried out so far and for the remaining project. You can reach me on my phone or summon me to your office if you have questions that you may want to be included in the on-site interviews.
The research on various ways our university will enhance in-job training for technical staff working in all the branches of the university is going as planned. I have not encountered major pitfalls, and I have attained relevant and numerous material on this subject. Nonetheless, the only minor problem I have experienced is the delay by a section of workers to submit their surveys, but I am taking the necessary measures to ensure that I get at least 90% of the report submitted. I can foresee no reason to delay me from submitting the report to you within the required timeline. To be specific, I may even be able to submit it to you earlier than projected. In summary, there are clear signs that the project objectives will be achieved and it will bring more insight on various types of technical training than had appeared in the discussions we had before the commencement of the report. Full details on the types of technical training, however, will be in the final report.
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