Organizations have teams of people dedicated to identifying and solving problems in skill gaps among employees.
These are part of the human resource club that focus on talent management – aligning the needs of the organization with the talent that comprises it.
This team is officially designated for Learning and Development.
In this fast-paced working world with a dynamic global economy, evolving work force, and growing automation, employees have to constantly update their knowledge.
The Learning and Development team is responsible for gathering information of what employees and the organization need and provide solutions to satisfy them.
If you have a knack for teaching and communicating ideas with others, you can use this talent to share your expertise in a relevant field.
Although it is not as simple as taking a chalk to the board. Education for adults (and not adult education in particular) requires certain desirable qualities and formal qualifications that can play quite a defining role.
Let us explore those skills in a jiff.
In this article, we will talk about how to become a part of this indispensable workforce in an organization, based on job reports on O*Net Online and BLS.gov.
Skills required to be a learning specialist
The gift of gab
Communication is a must. Being adept in the art of articulation can help convey ideas and concepts across the bench.
Especially when you’re teaching adults from a variety of backgrounds and education. You can’t make anyone stand in the corner for losing interest in class!
It will be your job to understand their requirements and what would they need to update their skills. Hence, communicating them is an essential description of a trainer.
Surveys, interviews, focus groups, management consultations, and other forms of internal dialogues are part of their daily activities.
Training specialists also need to have the essential people skills to empathize with the needs of the organization as well its people. Read Why communication skill is important in your workplace
What sense, if any, will you be able to make of the data you gather regarding the talent need of an organization?
If a product is constantly missing deadlines in reaching its final customer, despite manufacturing automation, state of the art machinery, and experts to handle them, what’s causing the delay?
Is it a lack of training in adapting to the automation updates? Is it a lack of expert support in handling machine glitches? Or is it simply a lack of coordination between different modules during the manufacture of the product?
It is essential for trainers to have the analytical bend of mind to extract the problem in the system from what information there is available.
Thus, root cause analysis and problem solving are much wanted traits of a learning and development professional.
Trainers are required to be comfortable in staging training programs or courses over platforms that are easily accessed by employees.
In this digital age, employees usually plan their self-development paced at their convenience.
Trainers should be able to take those needs into consideration and design these development programs online, with all the necessary bells and whistles.
Even outside the online platform, technology helps to create an effective teaching medium in the classroom environment – presentations, training activities, etc.
Based on occupation reports, they should be savvy in software programs for Computer Based training, database query software, document and data management, graphics and imaging software and web platform development software.
How to become a Learning and Development Professional?
All types of organizations have learning professionals. After all, learning and integrating the needs of the organization, with that of the employees, is a must-have no matter which industry you are attached to.
As a basic education qualification, training specialists should at least have an undergraduate degree.
You can also pursue advanced degrees in Business with Human Resources specialization to gain knowledge in personnel recruitment, selection, their training, their compensation, labor regulations, etc.
If you have a qualification in Instructional Design or Social Sciences related to education, you can explore this career as well.
Additional knowledge about curriculum design and instruction methods, business and management strategies for planning, resource allocation, leadership, talent management, etc. can be very useful.
With everything else, command in computer science and its relatives are a given in these times.
Once you have established your ability to master the art of effective training management, look for opportunities to enter the field with a bang.
– Often such personnel are sourced from the existing employee pool. Employees with certain training experiences and subject matter expertise can explore shifting careers into training and development. Such shifts are negotiated by management based on personnel training needs in an organization.
– If you are looking in from outside any organization, prepare your resume to reflect your know-how. Gather experience in the field through volunteer training opportunities. Of course, if you don’t have any formal training to reflect your skills, you should seek out your professional network for referrals. Expand your network within the training management circle for relevant results.
– Look for certifications that may be able to push your resume farther up the applicant pool. Here are some as provided by O*Net Online
Such certifications are not required but certain employers do have a preference for them.
BLS.gov claims that their growth is estimated at 11% by 2026, in the US. With an annual median pay at about $61k, this career move can be quite comfortable.
Work life balance is also quite favourable with training specialists putting in an average of 40 hours per week. Although, they tend to travel quite a bit sharing their expertise.
If you are interested in taking this profession as your career, you should investigate the industry you want to specialize in.
- What is the demand for trainers in that industry?
- What is their hiring trend like?
- Do you foresee a sustainable need for such experts in the organization or industry?
So, research your market before you jump ship.