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TRAINING


Inspire individuals to ‘discover their possibilities’


Becky Hill, an applied biology and microbiology research scientist who ‘transitioned into the corporate world’ – developing her knowledge skills and expertise in water treatment and purification – before founding performance improvement and strategic advisor company, Solutions 42, outlines her ‘holistic approach and measurable solutions to learning and development interventions in healthcare’.


My first thought on joining the world of water purification was ‘that sounds boring’ So, you may instantly be thinking, ‘Why take the job then?’ My reasoning was simple; I wanted to learn about the process of selling, and this new job connected the academic world of a research laboratory that I was leaving behind with my desire to learn all about business. When I started, my training was focused on getting to know the products, the technology behind the products, and the different qualities these technologies achieved. I began making connections between my laboratory work and the water I had used. When I started making field visits, I went back to my old laboratory site, and asked the engineers who looked after the building if I could see the water purification system. This is the point when I realised that the plant room really is the pumping heart of a building. I also recognised the value of the technical knowledge of water in the context of the work experience I’d already had, and found the impact of different water qualities on various applications fascinating.


A raging hunger to know My initial ‘that sounds boring’ reaction to the subject soon turned into a raging hunger to know and understand more. I made meaning and connections of technical and engineering aspects, with the multitude of applications. I discovered an enormously wide range of markets and industries, each with their own set of legislation, standards, regulations, and guidance for best practices – each requiring human beings with different job roles, pools of knowledge, skills, and expertise, to come together and collaborate in achieving the desired water specifications. So, how could I get people to not see water treatment and purification as boring? What could I do to engage people’s curiosity? How could I break down the invisible barriers to sharing and learning caused by assumptions?


How many times do we unintentionally


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The definition of ‘intervention’ in the Cambridge English Dictionary is ‘an action taken to intentionally become involved in a difficult situation in order to improve it or prevent it from getting worse’


block our curiosity by making assumptions? What opportunities do we miss when we have fixed beliefs? For example, the belief that a ‘degree’ means the individual concerned is more intelligent than another without it. That a job title defines the individual and their characteristics. That infection prevention and control is for people in caring roles, rather than of any great interest to the estates and facilities personnel looking after the hospital environment. Or, perhaps, that water quality assurance is an engineering, rather than a clinical issue?


Time, values, and life experience We don’t mean to assume; it’s actually in our nature to be curious, but to what extent depends on our perception of time, our current values, and our life experiences. Time is the real currency of discovery, and it takes time to become excellent in whatever we chose to focus


on. In my sales role I found out that the subject of ‘water purification’ didn’t interest most people, unless I caught them at a time when the water quality had been identified as the cause of a non- compliance, production problem, or product quality issue. I soon realised that there was a gap between engineers who spoke and saw in engineering terms, and end-users, whose questions were scientific – two different languages, where I became the interpreter and educator. I needed to work out how I could help that communication in the future...


Challenges despite training investment


According to the Employer Skills Survey 2017,1


a total of £44.2 bn was spent on training in the UK that year, with the average training days per employee being four, at an annual cost per employee of £1,500. With this sort of investment, it’s


October 2019 Health Estate Journal 65


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