I am currently working with a trainee that has no previous dispatch experience. When I started with my agency, I also had zero experience- so I sympathize, I really do! In hindsight, its hard to believe that I survived the pressure and the struggle– but I stuck it out, and here I am.
As a trainer, I view my role as being that of a facilitator. I can help facilitate the learning process. I cannot learn for someone else. I encourage that they take ownership over their training experience by actively engaging- asking questions, asking for clarification, taking initiative with documentation (or asking for it). Particularly with on-the-job training, like we have in our agency (greatly due to staffing), the trainer may be able to talk and teach for a portion of the day (as workload allows), but it is ultimately up to the trainee to retain that information.
As a trainer, every day I remind myself of the two biggest challenges that I faced as a trainee:
- Limited frame of reference. In other words, a trainee may hear or receive a piece of information, but they don’t know enough to understand how it connects to everything else.
- Self-confidence/self-esteem. Everyone wants to go home feeling like they did a good job. There is an enormous amount of pressure inherently present with this job. The training/ramping-up period takes an excruciatingly long amount of time. They warned me about this, but I still struggled with it! I make a point to repeatedly remind my trainees that it is important to trust the process.
The nerdier side of me has been delighted and comforted by reading about how the brain learns and re-wires itself with repetition and pressure. It has also been particularly relevant with the shift work that this job entails.
I really like this article about how the brain works. If you are interested in being a trainee, being a trainer, or if you have a brain – I recommend reading it! (I’m also a total plant-nerd, so their “your brain is like a garden” line really got me!)