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Eurostat's Individual training plans

INDIVIDUAL TRAINING PLANS

Eurostat has implemented a system of individualised training plans. In order to assist staff in the choice of courses, profile needs have been proposed

This new approach is based on a system of interchangeable and expandable modules through which the individual needs and those of the unit or service may be more closely matched with the training opportunities provided. It also offers a framework within which officials may define their needs more exactly, and which will allow them to map out and pursue their own individual training programme. The medium-term objective is to provide staff with the means to plan and co-ordinate the training activities in relation to workload and your functional responsibilities over the longer term.

The set of modules and profiles presented do not in themselves constitute a training programme but are intended solely as a source of reference which will help people to identify and formulate their training needs, and eventually to compose their own programme of training activities.

The vast range of topics and envisaged training activities have been grouped around seven central themes:

ADMINISTRATION
EUROPEAN UNION
INFORMATICS
LANGUAGES
MANAGEMENT
STATISTICS AND ECNOMICS
WORKING TECHNIQUES


COURSES ON STATISTICS

Eurostat wishes to offer courses in various statistical subjects to its staff. However, given the difficulty of finding external teachers qualified in the statistical field, Eurostat has in particular an ambition to develop a "in-house" training policy, namely training programmes prepared and presented by officials of the Eurostat.

In the opinion of some of our speakers, the external advisers do not indeed manage always to apprehend the specific characters of the Community statistical environment correctly. This internal training policy will carry out the remainder to enlarge and enrich of the professional skills of the officials willing to contribute as trainers to these programmes.


TOTAL MANAGEMENT QUALITY COURSES

Eurostat has already undertaken a programme of training in quality and management called "QUALISTAT" following from this we are making available the report from this programme:


QUALISTAT TRAINING INITIATIVE REPORT ON TRANING 10.98-3.99

1. BACKGROUND

The Qualistat Training Initiative was launched in the spring 1998. It is part of objective no. 4 of the Corporate Plan Boosting Staff Motivation. A Steering Committee consisting of Alan Clarke, Werner Grünewald, David Lewis and Birgitte Jansson were in charge of defining the contents as well as the audience for the training.

The three introductory courses were on 1. Quality, 2. Team Development and 3. Communication and were destined for all staff.

The Quality were done on three levels : Total Quality Management, Introduction to Total Quality and Total Quality in day to day work. Entrance was determined by previous experience and knowledge about TQM, not necessarily grades.

Team Development and Communication were delivered to ‘natural’ teams, i.e. teams who actually work together, thus providing an opportunity to discover team dynamics and get input to communication skills.

The courses (of each one day, except Total Quality Management which was 1 ½ day) were linked to the EFQM model (European Foundation Quality Model).

All courses were tested during a pilot phase in October 1998 and adapted according to results.


2. OBJECTIVES

The Corporate Plan aims to develop and promote a total quality approach in Eurostat. The Qualistat Training Initiative is a significant element of raising awareness of the former well as improving teamwork and communication in Eurostat.


3. TIMETABLE

The Steering Committee started its work in May 1998 and finished in October 1998 having finalized the pilot phase of the courses. The project manager, Birgitte Jansson, was responsible for the operational phase which took place from December 1998 till 31 March 1999.


4. KEY ACTORS

The Steering Committee consulted different staff in various grades as well as the Equal Opportunities Working Group as for the contents of the courses. A. Chantraine was project sponsor and the company XL carried out the design and delivery of the courses.

Furthermore, a group of In-house Facilitators was created (see point 6) to support the project.


5. COMMUNICATION ABOUT THE COURSES

The table below shows the information distributed to staff about the training. Some information was given in notes to Heads of Unit and communication to all staff. All notes have been put on Cybernews for information.





An Open Day was arranged on 10 November 1998 to inform staff further about the courses. About 80 people attended the first part of the day with introductions by Messrs Franchet and Chantraine as well as explanations about the courses.App. 40 stayed on to do some exercises on training and development in Eurostat. A summary of the day was published on Cybernews (see annex A).

During the operational phase, Cybernews has continuously published information about the courses (later in the Qualistat site) as well as ‘témoignages’ from participating staff about the courses.


6. THE IN-HOUSE FACILITATORS

As an important part of the Qualistat Training Initiative, a call for volunteers was made to assume the role of in-house facilitators. 16 persons volunteered and received two days of training on learning styles and theory, some facilitation skills, group exercises, etc. A third day was earmarked for going through the course material.

An IF supports the learning process in Eurostat in order to reinforce and create value from training. The work consisted in participating in the courses with the external facilitator, surveying teamwork, relating course contents to work situations, keeping the discussion going, etc. The IFs' are going to be involved in the follow-up of these courses as well as future courses.

They were highly appreciated during the operational phase and are even now available should some individuals or groups require assistance with action plans or the like (see annex B for the IF charter and the IFs' names).

Below is a SWOT analysis carried out by the IFs' on the IF role :

STRENGTHS (FORCES)
* Relation internal/external facilitator (EUROSTAT knowledge)
* IF was of great help - relationship to build on

OPPORTUNITIES (OPPORTUNITES)
* Info channel between staff and hierarchy
* Create links (to work)
* Other types of courses
* Feedback/follow-up within the unit
* IF could improve communications

WEAKNESSES (FAIBLESSES)
* Better relationship required between IF & EF
* Define role in detail
* More training required
* Not enough IFs

THREATS (MENACES)
* Passive image
* Impact on time
* Routine ?
* Global scepticism of project

The group meets regularly to discuss the Qualistat training, Qualistat as such, etc. Mr Franchet is sponsor of the team and meets with the IFs' regularly for exchange of views.


7. THE PARTICIPATION IN THE COURSES

Notes were addressed to the Heads of Unit who returned the names and levels as well as groups to the Training Sector. The language (English and French) was suggested per default but could be changed. Staff were invited via personal e-mails with up till 15 persons (Quality courses) in each course. Effectively, around 10 would participate some times less due to unforeseen absences.

Not all staff could participate in the first round of training. This was partly due to a limited number of training days (119 - all used) as well as the restricted period (end March 1999 for budgetary reasons) and partly due to non-availability of staff or in a few cases non-reply from the Heads of Unit. However, the next round of courses late this year and the next will allow the remainder of staff, as well as newcomers, to participate in the courses.

Below are some figures for the participation.

Quality modules - Participants
Total Quality Management - 68
Introduction to Total Quality - 142
Total Quality in day-to-day work - 123
All three courses TOTAL - 333

Management modules - Participants
Team Development - 338
Communication - 292


8. EVALUATIONS

The courses were all evaluated by most of the participants. The evaluation had a numeric as well as a qualitative evaluation. All forms were analyzed by the training sector and the results will help improve the next courses as well as the approach taken. For example, the language aspect will be strengthened and the contents will be even more Eurostat/unit specific.

Below is a summary of the numeric evaluations - on a scale of 4 - (1 = low ; 2 = average; 3 = good; 4 = very good). Please see annex C for detailed evaluations.





Furthermore, the in-house facilitators met twice to do SWOT analyses of the courses (annex D).

In general, the evaluation is very satisfactory, particularly taken into consideration that participation was compulsory. Awareness of Qualistat and TQM seems to have been raised and according to the individual evaluation forms, teamwork and communications have received new impetus.


9. CONCLUSIONS

Following are the conclusions derived from the evaluation forms and other feedback from staff, In-house facilitators, trainers, etc.:

a. For all courses it appeared that large numbers of Eurostat staff appreciated the opportunity to discuss the issues with colleagues (both from other units and their own) and to consider the possibility of changes in « organizational culture ».

Proposed action: continue with a mix of cross-unit and unit courses.

b. While there are some apparent differences in the performance of the trainers, these are small compared with the difference in responses of the different units. The key variable seems to be the attitudes within the unit, with the style of leadership from the Head of Unit considered a critical factor.

Proposed action: explain the impact of management style on training to the MIMAC.

c. The language of the courses remained in some cases a concern.

Proposed action: make the language versions consistent, thus permitting the use of one language manual in courses held in a different language.

d. Communication/objectives of the courses must be strengthened.

Proposed action: make repeated use of several channels of information. Clearly specify course objectives and the link to work.

e. The course material could be improved. The pre-course work was not always done before attending the course.

Proposed action: conciliate the different language versions. Make sure that the material is appropriate for non-native speakers. Explain the value of pre-course work (cost-saving, setting the scene, etc.).

f. Overall awareness appeared to be quite low as to the links between training, Eurostat’s Corporate Plan, Qualistat and PDUs.

Proposed action: please refer to point d.

g. In-house Facilitators were greatly appreciated by both participants and the external trainers. In a number of instances, the IFs were able to influence the pattern of the training to address the needs of the group better.

Proposed action: integrate In-house Facilitators in more courses. Explain the value of the role to teams/units. Strengthen the role. IF’s should be active in developing the company culture and supporting quality as well as teamwork.

h. Training sessions virtually never started on time. Typically half the group would be present at the starting time, but they would have to wait while their colleagues wandered in over the next ten to fifteen minutes.

Proposed action: explain the waste of time for colleagues as well as cost in training via invitations to staff as well as in a presentation to the MIMAC.

j. Some staff feel that they cannot really afford the time for training. In fact the three days represented little more than 1% of annual work time, a low figure by international standards.

Proposed action: Clearly specify objectives and link to work. Streamline training, make it more Eurostat/unit specific. Propose bilateral meetings with training sector with concerned staff.


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