Take advantage of workplace training

Published 7:52 pm Thursday, August 6, 2015

By Chris A. Quilpa

How do professionals, career men and women, government and civilian employees, military personnel, hotel-restaurant-retail store workers keep up with their profession or careers? How do they keep abreast with the latest information and technology pertinent to their job?

One of the important ways they do so is through in-service training.

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When I was active-duty in the U.S. Navy, we had frequent in-service training programs, especially if we had new equipment for our clinic or hospital, or a new directive or policy from the chain of command that needed immediate implementation to and by all hands. We had different sessions to attend, and both sailors and civilian personnel had the opportunity to participate.

Mandatory in-service training is the norm in the military. That’s because there are rules and regulations requiring strict adherence to military standards, protocols, practices and traditions.

Competence and confidence in what we do and what we are assigned to do is of utmost importance. This is achieved by constant in-service training in our workplace.

In the Navy, in-service training helps sailors and civilians work efficiently and effectively; deal with the public; and understand issues that can affect performance, morale and teamwork, which are essential for a successful mission accomplishment.

Imagine a newcomer in a workplace that provides customer service to the public. How can he or she function well if he or she has a limited knowledge about the organization? How can he or she handle the responsibilities assigned to him or her? That’s where the orientation and in-service trainings come in.

If you have participated in in-service training, you have probably left feeling more comfortable, confident and competitive at work because of the knowledge and skills you acquired.

You can’t wait to put that knowledge or skills to use. You might even leave the training ready to face any task assigned to you with confidence. You now have that “can do” attitude and spirit in the workplace.

Furthermore, participants can interact with facilitators, presenters and fellow participants, taking advantage of the opportunity to share ideas, thoughts and feedback about topics discussed. They can have role-playing, too, creating scenarios that mimic realism in the workplace.

Everyone knows that practice makes perfect, and many in-service training session give participants the opportunity to practice and demonstrate what they have learned. They can actualize what they’ve learned from the training session.

In-service training is not a waste of time, as some claim. On the contrary, it’s a benefit to those who value learning new skills. It’s beneficial to those who desire to excel, to be productive and proactive to society.

Therefore, let’s avail ourselves of in-service opportunities provided by our employers. We learn something new each time we participate in them.

Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk. Email him at chris.a.quilpa@gmail.com.