The maintenance of a certain qualification level and the promotion of the qualification and education measures for new and permanent laboratory members is vital for every laboratory. Trainings need to be adapted to the conditions of the laboratory and need to take into account the prior knowledge of the person to be trained. It is thereby important that training be provided in a consistent manner and that a transparent training record for lab members exist. Training courses have the following objectives:
- Establishing an appropriate training plan and providing the appropriate materials to the training participant.
- Providing evidence that the training participant has the required knowledge/skills/competencies.
- Identifying which processes/devices need to be trained.
- The encouragement of voluntary training.
The need for training results from the qualification level of the employees, their function within the department, the introduction of new processes, procedures, measuring instruments and legal regulations as well as potential performance deficits that have become visible in quality development.
Before you start a training program in your organization there are several items to consider for the implementation. These are:
- What are the conditions for specific trainings.
- What is to be achieved by the training (competencies).
- What qualifications / experiences need the trainer for your program.
- A briefly described process of how the training will be conducted is helpful.
- Training / refresher training should be conducted on a regular basis (for whom and under what conditions).
- Shadowing or mentoring for newly trained staff is required to give feedback and to improve their skills.
- Make alist of legally required, quality-required, and all other trainings.
- Setup a system to document:
- when trainings take place
- who was trained
- brief content of the training
- who trained
- For which training does material exist and for which does it need to be produced (manual, instruction list, training video)? Do trainees have access to the training material at all time? Is there training material current and up-to-date?
Who has the competence to be a training provider? List the names of these people. They need to work out details of the training (concept, objectives, material, training procedure) to which they will adhere and determine may also determine when a well-trained person can become a training provider.
It is important to determine the need for training. Entry point(s) to set up trainings (aside from legally required trainings) could be:
- to start with an introduction management for new lab members
- to start with a review of the device list (what device requires training – who could be responsible)
- to start with competence level of new or existing lab member:
- never worked in a lab before
- < 1 year
- 2-4 years
- >5 years
- List of skills/expertise from CV.
- to start with a list of procedures / techniques / protocols - do they require training?
It is important to create an open atmosphere during the training so that participants are encouraged to ask questions. Training should always be motivating, the training participants should always be involved, if possible. Many different techniques exist for active participation in training sessions to encourage discussion and approaches to solutions.
Training can also be provided in a variety of online formats. The training topics and the target audience are key factors here.
It makes sense to include validation techniques for training in order to be able to verify whether the training method / technique used has been applied correctly (self-monitoring). For example, a known standard could be included and a standard curve created.
If the lab is large enough, regular refresher courses should be offered. Consideration should then be given to whether these should be voluntary or mandatory, applicable to all or selected personnel. The concept of such a course is important; should the refresher course include another demonstration by the trainer or should the trainer observe the training / people and correct as needed.