At one time, we headed a team of instructors who were charged with helping students in several vocational training programs prepare to enter the work force once they had completed training. The only “classroom” that was available for us to meet was in the basement of what had been a plant for injection molding. Somehow, we had to make it work.
Over the course of the next month, we painted the exposed piping and duct work the colors of the rainbow. We plastered the walls with motivational posters. We built shelves to hold work related books and magazines. There was What Color is Your Parachute? alongside books by Drucker on management; below were publications like BusinessWeek and the Wall Street Journal. During the twelve week, twelve-hour course we mixed lectures with audio-visuals to illustrate workplace relationships, interview techniques and problem solving.
The upgrade to the space was an intentional effort to remind the trainees that they had left their welding classroom or clerical classroom and were now preparing to enter the World of Work. It was an effort to remind them that their training would soon conclude and they needed to give their attention for starting a career. It was intended to paint the World of Work as a positive, even happy place. Which we think it is.
What are the best and worst training environments you have encountered?