Quite simply, what I do when I work as a trainer is to work with different stakeholders to understand the critical communication situations and business processes which the trainees will have to operate in, and design and run courses which will help people do so. The aim is always to make people more effective and efficient in their jobs, so that the organisation has a clear and noticeable benefit. It’s about adding value. I see initial meetings with clients as key to the whole process. Here is a post by Olya Sergeeva who summarises a talk I gave in 2016, and which gives a good idea about how I might approach a project.
Over the years I have trained employees and written training materials for a wide range of levels and functions, from board level
to team assistant, and from HR to finance, production, logistics, purchasing, sales and marketing. Clients have come from many places and have included large
corporate training departments such as Siemens Learning Campus and Audi Academy, ELT organisations such as Cambridge English Language Assessment and EDI, government agencies such as KIMFT, as
well as groups and individuals from a range of industries including oil and gas, telematics, maritime, construction, accounting and finance, logistics, retail, real estate, automotive
engineering, and many others.
Here are six examples of the types of training I have been involved in.
Since my first degree was
in mechanical engineering it is natural that I am often asked to run courses / write materials for the automotive industry. A very common request is for courses which focus on the
language used in contract negotiations with suppliers and / or customers. As always the content depends on the needs of the learners, but typically includes language for relationship building,
making proposals and counter proposals, handling problems, as well as discussions about technical specifications.
English for Asia
Many German employees have to use English to operate in Asia. I have developed a two day seminar which focuses on the key communication skills such as rapport building, working in intercultural teams, and negotiating. Trainees get the chance to work with different Asian accents, analyse what is really being said in meetings, and develop their English language skills to work more effectively in an Asian context. Depending on the class I generally use Working in Asia which I co-authored with Shuna Hsu.
Many people need to hone their presentation skills, both in terms of English language competence, and also as presenters. Making successful presentations starts with understanding the types of audiences involved, and also the type of presentations - for example, is it a sales presentation designed to persuade an audience to buy a product or service, or is it a technical presentation explaining how something works? Once the context of the presentation has been understood then the aim is to help that person do the best he or she possibly can - this can mean a variety of things, ranging from working through the content of a presentation, thinking about the structure, finding the right words and phrases, and so on.
English for Accounting
As the world moves towards IFRS there is a need for more and more accountants to be able to become familiar with the language required. Training in this area focuses on the specialist words and phrases used by accountants, but may also involve other skills such as clarifying and summarising complex rules and regulations for clients. This is an area I have worked in for a number of years, and indeed have co-authored English for Accounting, now in its second edition, as well as working as Chief Examiner of LCCI's English for Accounting. And here is a link to a presentation that I did for Cambridge English Language Assessment about teaching English for accounting and financial professionals.
Over the last few years I have been involved in various maritime English projects in South Korea, including training young officers, working on new VTS communication guidelines, and contributing to a large scale coursebook writing project aimed specifically at seafarers. Here is a link to a recent interview I did for the 'Maritime English Teachers' pod, which presents experiences and thoughts from maritime training around the world.
Onboarding and knowledge transfer
As companies become more and more international, they tend to use English to onboard new employees, from entry-level onboarding, to technical skills training, to leadership onboarding. I have assisted in this process many times, from working with HR departments as they organise instructor-led courses, helping design internal elearning packages, to running elements of the onboarding process as part of a language training programme. An example of this was organising factory tours for new team assistants so that they could learn about the factory layout and production processes in their new company. Another example was arranging for representatives from different departments to give presentations to new arrivals as part of their language training.