About Mitsue-Links' Mid-Career Entry Training Program
In January 2018, we commenced our internal Mid-Career Entry Training Program. As the lead tutor for this program, in this Column, I'll provide an overview of the training and introduce my role.
About Our Mid-Career Entry Training Program
Our mid-career employment training system is targeted at recruits who join us mid-career but have little experience in coding/web-related industries. The training continues for around two weeks, then new entrants are assigned to a team. Our aim, at completion, is to produce graduates who can respond quickly and smoothly to tasks from their first day of assignment. As mentioned, this system commenced at the beginning of this year, and, as of June 2018, has already produced seven graduates.
Mid-Career Entry Training Curriculum
The training curriculum consists mainly of the following:
- preparing the appropriate environment for coding work
- sharing information on internal rules, internal documents
- internal workflows regarding site management tasks, reviewing deliverables
- internal workflows regarding website development tasks, reviewing deliverables
For site management and development training, we seek to base learning on real projects as much as possible.
The curriculum content is not uniform, and one of three programs is prepared and implemented based on the new entrant skill levels as well as the role to be assigned after training.
In the past, we enforced a uniform curriculum. However forcibly teaching difficult content when the trainee's coding skill level was basic, meant that knowledge couldn't be effectively acquired and led to a decline in motivation. Therefore, except for content on internal workflow procedures, we've implemented a flexible curriculum so that recruits new to web development learn the fundamental aspects of HTML and CSS, whereas those with higher knowledge and experience learn more advanced content.
By adding flexibility to the program, the curriculum has grown in scope and now facilitates effective learning within a two-week period.
Balance Between Teaching and Coaching
Regarding our training methods, we are mindful of maintaining a balance between teaching and coaching. “Teaching” is the sharing of knowledge, skills, and know-how to learners, whereas “coaching” is getting the learner to think, and then understand, by themselves.
In other words, teaching is a one-way method of information transmission where the learner tends to be passive, and content learned is dependent on the knowledge and experience of the teacher. However, with coaching, it can be difficult to master unknown knowledge in a short period of time and some learners, through the process of trial and error, may unintentionally waste time through not applying efficient learning techniques. It is not a contest over whether teaching or coaching is best but rather that training methods should be balanced appropriately according to the skill level of learner.
For those undertaking mid-career training who are pretty much inexperienced in coding, we place an emphasis on teaching. Procedures and methods that are generally considered best practices, are explained. Then, after receiving lecturer instructions, we ask learners to reproduce lesson content. Through asking “why” certain methods/items are necessary, we devise a scheme to not only follow procedures but also to encourage learners to undertake tasks in a thoughtful manner.
In addition, every morning we set aside around 30 minutes in which we summarize and review the previous day's content and go over any unclear items. During this time, through experiencing “self-investigation and correction” learners will be able to demonstrate their ability to solve problems by themselves – ready for when they are assigned to client project teams.
Future Challenges for the Mid-Career Training System
In the five months that I have administered and implemented the mid-career training, in addition to the above, I have learned various things, including the difficulty of teaching to others.
Going forward, one theme for our mid-career training is to simplify the curriculum. There is much we want participants to learn, however, the most important takeaway from the training is "whether learning content can be practiced in the workplace". If learners retain the core knowledge and processes taught, they'll be able to better apply these to tasks after assignment. For that reason, through further curriculum summarization and more practical implementations, we seek build ties between what's learnt in the program and the workplace.
Through this evolution, we aim to further enhance human resource development system for new entrants. Just like a sturdy building needs strong foundations, to continue developing the strong foundations of our newly entered human resources, regardless of career experience at entry, we'd like recruits to further develop their skills and know-how through initiatives in addition to this training program.