Security training: what time are we finishing?

Why are we invigorated by training on management skills yet demoralised by the very idea of recurrent security training? Does it solely depend on the ability of the facilitator, or does the industry itself need to take stock and consider how it utilises valuable training time to motivate those to whom it entrusts its security protection?

Viki Johnston looks at the issues and makes some constructive suggestions to those who commission security training courses and those who manage employees assigned to attend programmes.

When opening a training course, if you are a trainer or facilitator, what is the dreaded response to your opening question, “Does anyone have any questions before we start?” You were hoping for a resounding “No”, hence the closed question, or perhaps, in your dreams, an “I’d really like to understand my role and how I can ensure success.” But not an “At what time are we finishing?”

So why is it that the top priority of all too many attendees on aviation cargo security courses is to find out how long is it before they can get away and get back to whatever they were doing? Why do employees regard almost anything else as being much more important than being on some stuffy security course? It can be really disheartening for any trainer to know that all their delegates want to do is leave, especially when the trainer has large quantities of really useful and essential information for them, information that will help them prevent, or at least identify, threats to the aviation industry.

Training is an opportunity for attendees to discover just how important they are to the effectiveness of the security regime, which should make them feel valued, and for them to receive the knowledge as to which steps they can take to protect themselves and their business. Alas, a positive mental attitude at the start of a training course is a rarity on the part of delegates to security courses and, although I am always pleased with trainees telling me, at the end of the day, that they “Actually really enjoyed it” and “Thanks, you managed to make it interesting”, such comments are usually expressed with a tinge of surprise. I am in the fortunate position of being able to offer both aviation cargo security training and a wide range of management training programmes, usually referred to as ‘soft skills’.

The latter training includes coaching skills, managing conflict, time management, selection and interviewing techniques, and presentation skills. Trainees rarely express surprise as to how much they have enjoyed such programmes; there seems to be a completely different expectation. These delegates come ready with ideas to share and are fully engaged. So why the difference with aviation security courses?

 

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