Talking about professional development with a colleague got me thinking about motivating staff to actually go to training courses or participate in training opportunities. I can understand when you have to pay for the training yourself, but when the organisation pays for the training or it’s offered free for those in the profession then I’m left perplexed by the refusal to go. Especially when that same person then goes and complains that they never get an opportunity to upgrade their skill! Chances are if you say no to training often enough the employer will not bother offering you the opportunity to go to again.
I’m always looking at ways to improve my skills, and by no means am I perfect or even particularly good at everything but I try and learn at least something about the various aspects of librarianship. My biggest struggle at the moment is motivating others to try and learn a new skill. This is especially true if the skill involves technology, whether a new device or new software/medium. Have to agree with Mary Kelly who on her blog Library Lost & Found said
Chances are that a perfect blend of scheduling, training budgets, and managerial support will not exist. Often, the reality is that there is nothing to support you and your career. You – and you alone – will be the only one to care about your career.
We need to take responsibility for our own professional development and look at the courses being offered and seeing if it would enhance our skills even in a small way. I’m not saying to go to everything but don’t say no to something just because you don’t know anything about the subject. The other benefit of going to training seminar/workshops and other professional development opportunities is the opportunity for professional networking. Sometimes that becomes a valuable opportunity because it gives you the opportunity to find out how others do things and gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas off someone else.