Workshops are probably more important to some people than others. I’m sure that many of you are about to embark on a training course with us that includes some workshop activity, and maybe you’re wondering what sort of rewards you’ll get from attending.
Let me give you a brief overview of my own recent workshop experiences.
As part of the induction into my role as Research and Development Manager here at ICT, I was given the opportunity to observe a number of the workshops we run across our wide range of training courses.
In order to gain as much exposure as I could, I choose to attend workshops from three different courses (financial crime prevention, anti money laundering and sanctions), in three different locations (London, Edinburgh and Birmingham), delivered by three different course tutors (names withheld to protect the innocent!)
It’s worth pointing out that my background is in compliance, so I went into each workshop with a limited level of knowledge and experience on the subjects being covered. Despite this, I felt the pace at which the training was delivered was just right to enable me to take it in. There were also plenty of breaks for tea and coffee (and lunch of course, for many the highlight of the day!), which, to a large extent, the tutors seemed happy for us delegates to drive in terms of timings. The workshops are all-day events, and the material being covered is not too much that it felt rushed. All this combined to achieve a relaxed, informal atmosphere.
I was also struck by the level of knowledge (no questions raised went unanswered) and enthusiasm expressed by the tutors. The enthusiasm acted as an ideal recipe to generate really good engagement with the delegates, such an important ingredient at events like this. All three events were really interactive and I got a lot more from the day by being involved in group exercises, which, I felt, helped bring the course content to life.
The workshops also provided me with an opportunity to get to know some of the other delegates, to share ideas, experiences and thoughts about the coursework. Meeting people whose background was different to mine, such as banking, meant I was able to get an insight into the issues that sector has in managing certain risks. (You’d be surprised how different the risks can be!) At the time I wasn’t enrolled on a course, although I could certainly see the value these snippets of knowledge might bring in answering assessment questions.
If I were to summarise the best way to get the most from your workshops I would say follow these three easy steps:
- Make sure you attend – obvious I know, but there are many delegates who simply do not turn up for the workshops, perhaps thinking they do not offer any learning opportunities on top of the course materials already provided. This is a huge missed opportunity, which, once the date has passed, you can’t get back. What you learn at these events could be the difference between a pass and a fail, that’s how important I think they are.
- Be an active participant – use the group discussions and exercises to your advantage. The more you get involved the more you’ll learn, particularly from fellow delegates who have a background in other sectors of the industry. Again, these experiences could prove invaluable.
- Ask questions – this is such a good opportunity to get the answers to those questions you’ve been struggling with in your studies. You’re in a room with the course tutor so take advantage of the time you have with them. You’re also sharing a room with numerous other industry professionals – your fellow delegates – a great opportunity to expand your knowledge.
One thing I can guarantee is that you will leave your workshop having learned something you didn’t know before. I know I did, and I was only there as part of my role development.
For me, that has now changed. For the next nine months I am a customer; I’m enrolled on the ICA Diploma in anti money laundering this year. I’ll be writing assignments and sitting the exam at the end of the year just the same as some of you guys. I also have four workshops to attend, to help me make the most of the coursework I produce, and despite what I think I already know on the subject, I’ll definitely be attending all four… will you?