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This is a question Training courses, seminars and conferences

Inspirational or a waste of precious slacking-off time? I once went on a buzzword bingo-laden training course which ended up with my being held at gunpoint in public. Could have gone better, to be honest. Tell us your tales from either side of the lectern

(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:01)
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Self Defence
In school we had a man come into our PE class to teach us about self defence. Unfortunately after his
"How to not get your phone robbed" demonstration where he threw it over his attackers head, it smashed.
So the rest of our self defence talk was watching a man angrily mumbling to himself while trying to piece his phone back together.
(, Mon 19 Mar 2012, 9:23, 1 reply)
I'm not sure if this counts
but I went to a gathering at Stonehenge on the summer solstice.

Or I tried to. It turned out there were two completely different (and rival) gatherings, and I went to the wrong one!

They weren't the druids I was looking for.
(, Mon 19 Mar 2012, 7:56, 5 replies)
the most un-enjoyable
was the Underground access course that you need to pass to work on The London Great Tubular System.

Basically a whole day to learn two things.

1. Don't monkey around with asbestos.
2. If you see a rat don't pick it up and suck the piss out of it.

oh, and don't turn up to work pissed or high.

It was three things. A whole day for three things.


AND don't step on any rails and look out for trains.

It was five things...I remeber now.
(, Mon 19 Mar 2012, 7:34, 4 replies)
The most enjoyable
was an underwater demolitions course. Glorious summer days thrashing around the Devon coast in fast boats blowing stuff up.

On one of the final assessments, a few seconds after the bang, a couple of divers popped up clutching their heads and shouting. Judging from the number of mon Dieus they where French. But Gallic retardation was no excuse for diving with no marker buoy in a restricted area in a harbour.

The instructor was furious with me. "You get a once in a life time opportunity to legally kill a couple of Frenchies and you fucked it up"
(, Mon 19 Mar 2012, 6:59, 7 replies)
The obligatory massive drugs post
Last year I was complimented by some fellow attendees at a conference on my obvious enthusiasm for the subject, which encouraged 4 of them to get involved in the information security workshop I was running afterwards.

I was less enthusiastic by about 2pm as the MDMA from the night before wore off, of course, but I think I managed to spin my confused questions as a demonstration of the socratic method.
(, Mon 19 Mar 2012, 4:59, Reply)
Positive thinking
The assistant manager at the previous employer sat next to a fellow on a long flight. Next thing we know the whole department is corralled for this same fellow's "Take this job and love it" pitch.
He could have reasonably explained that applying a little care and diligence at your work will generally make things go better for you, but that would have taken 5 minutes. Instead we endured 8 hours of trumped up enthusiasm. He was 5 feet tall, called himself the Italian Stallion and thought he was funny. 8 hours.
Did I mention it was 8 hours.
(, Mon 19 Mar 2012, 3:13, Reply)
Alt: On the Down Low
I've done a few 1-5 day training courses for different organisations that I've worked for, each gaining some form of accreditation/qualification.

What I can't stand is having to go back every 1-3 years to do a (usually) 1 day "refresher" course.
That covers a condensed version of the exact same course that I already have a certificate for.

Now granted some of the courses have new info eg. as an OSH rep. I'm supposed to do 1 every year to "stay up to date with changes in regs. & legislation.", despite the fact that one of my responsibility's as OSH rep. is to ensure that I am aware and up to date with all changes in the regulations. Including the pile of journals and spammy emails I get all the fucking time.
But hey you've done 1 fire-safety course you've done most of them. If you can't remember what class of extinguisher to use then I've got a fire on the electrical board that needs putting out. Here use this metal cylinder containing water. You'll be right. Make sure you get your hands good & wet to protect from the heat and best take your rubber-soled safety boots off first.

But it's the rehashing of courses I've already done and qualified for that shits me. I'm not a little Ritalin-addled, gum-chewing, shell-suit wearing monkey with the attention-span of a Japanese tourist on a coach tour whose memory doesn't go beyond how I tied my shoelaces this morning. My memory retention (despite my best efforts by using excessive amounts of alcohol) is actually fairly good. Thus I really don't need my cache to be flushed and the data to be re-entered in a compressed form thank you very much.

EDIT: I have asked in the past if I can just do the test to "re-qualify" (right there - WTF!! Why should I have to re-qualify for something I've already been accredited to do?), but nooooo that would mean I haven't just wasted 8 hrs. in a stuffy room being told the same shit that I learnt 18 odd months ago. Probably by the same instructor at the same bloody place no less!
Starting to think that Hammy1801 is on the right track (minus the disco-biscuit damage) and I should do a train the trainers course then convince everyone that they need to do top-up courses every 2 mths. at double the cost for half the time...
Ohh, btw you know that PhD you just completed - we'll re-evaluate it in 12 mths.
(, Mon 19 Mar 2012, 1:01, 4 replies)
Deaf awareness course.
For some reason, I was sent on a day long deaf awareness course. The chap running the course was both completely deaf and very, very hot.I am very, very nervous around hot men and so started rambling about various crap at him, including how naff my Black Country accent is...

His translator kindly pointed out that as he had been born deaf he had never heard a Black Country accent. Or indeed any accent.

I burst in to flames.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 23:34, 15 replies)
... is the only word to use the cretin who ran the manual handling course I once had to go on.
The day started well when he demonstrated the correct way to pick up your car keys. And ripped the arse of his trousers in doing so, without missing a beat or indeed acknowledging the fact.
He then went on to video each one of us picking up a box (so we could critique each other's techniques/where we were going wrong etc. Not, I say again, not, so he could masturbate over it when he got home).
The highlight however was when he rewound the tape so we could watch back our attempts. Only for him to go too far back on the tape to the previous day's course. Which was at a pub. With lots of young female staff. Who had to pick things up. In skirts.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 23:12, 6 replies)
On Manual Handling Course for Libraries
The course leader had either balls or ignorance of his audience when he told a room full of librarians that, because books are heavy, they should order everything with heavy books on bottom shelves and smaller books...well on the top shelves.

You could see his mental facepalm moment when it hit him.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 20:42, 3 replies)
The council here made the lollypop men and ladies go on a training course.
Fair enough, but it was the 'Working at height' course.
Seriously, stepping of a kerb counts as height.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 18:16, 7 replies)
Arboreal Ants of the Peruvian Highlands
Back when I was the 'Director of Biomedical Engineering' I had to teach a safety class called "Electrical Safety in Hospitals". I had about 15 minutes of information to share, and half-an-hour to kill, so I used to try and spin up each class before getting into the subject at hand; thusly:

"Ok, today we're here to learn about the Arboreal Ants of the Peruvian Highlands. Anybody here ever been to Peru? Any Myrmocologists? No? That's Ok. We're going to be covering 3 different species of arboreal ants, the leaf-cutter, the aphid-farming, and the bird-eating sub-genuses of the common army ant."

At this point people would begin looking around, wondering if they were in the wrong class. They might be remembering my 10-minute spiel from last year about blue being the next big color for roadside lemonade stands, or the year before's lecture on zebra mussel invasion of the Great Lakes. Some of them looked like they wanted to say something, but invariably NO ONE questioned my authority or the topic.

"Identified mainly by the distance between antennae stubs, the various types of arboreal ants will generally stake out a single tree as their terrritory. It goes to the diversity of these wet steppes that the ants are able to surfive wit hthis limit on travel."

Eventually I'd wind down, and ask the m "How long do you want me to go on about ants? Because we're here to talk about Electrical Safety in Hospitals".
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 18:03, 6 replies)
Not me but a former colleague.
As an equal opportunity employer my managment implemented a mandatory course on "Equality And Diversity In The Workplace".
Now, the office that I was working in at the time was due to close so we were seriously short-staffed as people got moved to other postings. By short-staffed I mean that nearly everyone left was working 70 hour weeks as standard, good overtime when you're only rostered for 42 hours a week, but no real time off to enjoy it. The manager was on the forecasting bench full-time too, so he wasn't best pleased when he took a call from HR at our headquarters complaining that none of us had signed up for this course.
HR: "Look, this course is mandatory, but not ONE member of your staff has come forward to sign up for it."
Boss: "That'll be because none of the poor sods is getting more than one day off a week, how do you expect us to fill the roster here AND release staff for a 2 day talking-shop?"
HR: "Well you're going to have to release SOMEONE to do it."
Boss "Well, I suppose there is ONE person that I can release for two days."
That one person was Steph, our Admin girl. Who happens to be black. Who then got the course co-ordinator a bollocking for her racist attitude. The event went something like this:
Course Co-ordinator: "Now then, how would you like to be addressed? do you want me to call you Black British, British Of Afro-Caribean Heritage, British Ethnic, or something else?"
Steph: "I'd like you to call me Steph actually, because that's my name. See, it's even on this stupid nametag that you made me wear. And the only people I've ever heard using the words British Ethnic are those BNP idiots, you're not one of their members are you?"
This was what we were told after she got back a day early, and it earned her a standing ovation and a cake from the sandwich van that lunchtime.
I miss Steph, she was good fun to work with.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 13:21, 7 replies)
First Aid.
I did a one afternoon first aid course, as part of an Off Shore Survival certificate. The medic training us, ex military, brought in the Resussi-Ann doll, one of those shop dummy type things you can practice CPR on. He ardered one guy to waltz with it, and one guy to bend it over the desk, and doggy it. The two guys, bemused did as they were told.
He then explained that if he had to leave the room, he could guarantee that at least one of these activities would take place, so we may as well get it out of our systems.
The whole course was fun, we got to play with burning petrol, go in a cool lifeboat, evacuate a mocked up rig by jumping from a fair height and evacuate a mocked up helicopter. Also to go on the piss with a bunch of psycho ex-marines. Excellent week.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 11:47, Reply)
15 years ago i landed a job as a drayman for what was once Bass Brewers. They had sold out the distribution arm by then and were just concentrating on the brewing side of things. Part of our training involved a visit to the Bass brewery in Alton. After a tour round the place, and a small buffet lunch, we were informed that we could use the free bar upstairs in the afternoon. Three hours later, and four very drunk, new employees were being ferried back to Southampton in the car of their uptight Welsh manager, who didn't take too kindly to the twats he'd been left in charge of. He especially hated the one (not me, thankfully) who spewed all over the gearstick during the journey.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 10:10, 4 replies)
Dress Code
Some time ago a colleague told me that he was once sent on a course at work. The difference with this one was that the new style of 'Management Speak' bollocks had just been introduced and this meant that this was not a course but a 'Workshop.'

The Tutor therefore asked him on the first day why he was sitting there in a boiler suit, when everyone else was formally dressed. His reply was - I wasn't wanting to get my good suit messed up in some dirty workshop.

The course was about 'Changes to accountancy procedures' so he thought that his stance on his manner of dress was a pisstake towards management with their new style of terminology.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 9:58, 2 replies)
NHS E-Learning
In the last few years, online training has been introduced across my trust. Generally these are OK, if a bit slow and patronising. But you get the chance to go over things if you need to and can break off if needed. And it saves me having to waste a day in a classroom when I can take out 1-2 hours and be done. However the online Fire Training is shit; firstly despite me finishing it 6 times it won't sign me off as completeing it. But also, because it is utterly contardictory. Initially we are told that, in the event of a fire, our first priority is to evacuate the building and assemble outside. Then, we are told our first priority is to get our patients out the building.

Glad that's clear then.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 8:18, 7 replies)
I was once sent on a training course on how to use Microsoft Project
However every department I worked in after that tended to just colour in boxes on Excel because no one could use Project and it wasn't available to all employees, they had to put in a request for it to be added to their user area and have a valid reason why the needed it so no one bothered.
Aren't training courses, more often than not, pointless?
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 4:25, 3 replies)
When I worked for the Inland Revenue
about 20 years ago. We had a "think tank" that culminated in an afternoon in some country house near Nottingham. I told the Director of Personnel, the 2 Deputy Directors of Personnel and the 6 Assistant Directors of Personnel that there were too many of them. The £1000-a-day facilitator stole my overhead slides. Not sure if I won that one.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 0:14, Reply)
In view of this weekend's events at White Hart Lane...
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 23:25, 1 reply)
Epilepsy awareness
Just before lunch we were learning how to administer emergency medication rectally using a fake bottom. The instructor informed us that at one session as they were demonstrating, "Locate the anus" someone came in and asked, "Is this the sexual exploitation class?" which was taking place in another room.
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 21:42, 6 replies)
I once got shown how to lift a cardboard box
God knows what I'd have done without being shown, I can only Imagine i'd have a shattered spine by now.
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 17:56, 2 replies)
bastard cuntwits
I earn a pittance at the place I work, but as I am the only person in the company who knows anything about the machines we sell I am given the task of training the engineers who earn literally double what I earn. My job title is "warehouseman", I shit you not. Yet I have to train "engineers (mostly ex kitchen fitters and the like) to do complex things like use a multimeter and replace leaking pipes. Seriously, the job they have to do is so simple a deaf, blind, spastic with terminal diarrhoea could do it. I have in the past complained bitterly about the unfairness of having to train people who earn much (much) more than I do, only to be told "well it's you job, you've got to do it or find another job.". I think I shall go on a killing spree, or maybe just get pissed and vent on messageboards. Everyone please stand and give a big round of applause to greenworks solutions, a company so green they throw mercury filled bulbs in the bin because they don't know what else to do with them !!
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 17:31, 20 replies)
Risk Assessments and Manual Handling
My boss has decided that as Im so good at filling out risk assessments (it's all just cut and paste baby!!) next week I will be on a Train the Trainer risk assessment and manual handling course.
I will then be the cunt at the front of the classroom telling all and sundry how to do the fucking obvious.
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 17:17, 1 reply)
This comes via by brother.
My brother is, as I've mentioned before, in the RAF. Part of his initial training covered what to expect and do if he ever happened to be shot down and captured. (The short answer is this: nuts to the name, rank and number lark - it'll just get you tortured. Tell them everything you know. You aren't told anything more than you absolutely need, and all the plans will change as soon as anyone notices you've not come back, so it really doesn't matter what you say. And you stand a fighting chance of keeping your fingernails.)

One of the exercises involved being held in a stress position for as long as is allowed by the law: not all that long in comparison with what Doctor Evil might do, but plenty long enough if it's happening to you. Trainees were told to try to come up with some mental exercise that would keep their mind off how long they'd been in the position, and how uncomfortable it was.

All kinds of strategies were adopted. One person mentally designed his dream house including calculating exactly how many bricks it'd take.

At the debrief, my brother was asked what he'd done.
"I counted," he said. "I started at one, and just kept going."
"Christ, Flight Officer Enzyme'sbrother," replied the tutor. "You're the most boring bastard we've ever had on this course."
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 14:45, 3 replies)
"I can, and I will."
Or, the tale of an inspirational seminar (of sorts) and the man who gave it.

Some teachers are good at their job to the point that it shows. Whatever the foul, odious little turds they have to teach might think of them personally, said turds have to concede that they're good at their job. This is true both of the ones who relate well to their students and are popular, and those who are loathed and feared - as long as they deliver the material well, you can't criticise their ability to teach.

I had an old headmaster was one of these. It was hard to tell whether the students liked him or loathed him on the whole, but it was generally recognised that he was effective. Had I been a bit older and more cynical, however, I probably would have noticed the whiff of management training about him - once a week we'd the lot of us would be shepherded into the school's largest hall, where he'd talk at us for half an hour or so in an attempt to motivate us. One such lecture that stuck in my mind was the one on positive attitude.
"You achieve nothing," he told us, "by being defeatist. Time and again, I ask pupils why they're not achieving their full potential, and they tell me, 'I can't do it.'

"This attitude will get you nowhere. It shouldn't be 'I can't, so I won't,' it should be 'I can, and I will.'"

There it was. "I can, and I will" became his little mantra for positive attitude and self-motivation. I wouldn't have dared admit it to any my classmates at the time, but it even stuck with me - I have caught myself thinking it when struggling on with stuff.

A few years later, he left rather abruptly. This came as a shock, and the whole school took a turn for the worse, as the people who tried to replace him struggled to measure up to the job. To be fair, it wasn't for want of trying: it can be difficult to fill someone else's boots like that when they're that big a pair of boots.

Eventually, we found out why he'd left so suddenly. Turns out he'd caught with his hand in the till and his dick in one of the secretaries*. It was a shame that someone that well respected should have left under such a cloud, but then I guess he was true to his word: he could, so he did...

*Not literally. I can imagine that being quite a tricky position to maintain.
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 12:32, 2 replies)
It's never good when the gov sends their contracted trainers
I once attended a grant-required two-day training for grantees from across the Pacific. I already knew the contracted trainers were disorganized neophytes as they could not provide me with an agenda prior to the actual training day. So it should not have surprised me that I sat in a roomful of officials listening in growing horror as the contracted trainers gave wrong information that could, conceivably, get the NGOs defunded and the officials jailed.

After the first few go-rounds of me trying to gently guide the trainers to the correct information and getting a bit of an arrogant attitude back, the gloves were off. I pointed out the correct information, then backed up my assertions by citing chapter and verse of federal regulations. By 10am, they would stop and turn to me, "Kila?" and ask me to walk the class through the required forms and procedures. I've never talked so much at an event where *I* was supposed to be the trained!

They were shit, and deserved to lose the contract. At least I know I can go into consulting as I’m certain to do better than the current candidates.
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 8:18, Reply)
Training courses, training courses - I remember those
My job involves on-line searching. Fifteen years ago I turned up for a course run by a university professor. It was great and we all learned a lot. Ten years went by and I had not used much of it for some time, so I was sent on a refresher course, same professor. I was baffled about what he was talking about that time and the entire day was useless.

But the main part of the job is interpretation of law. As a result of an international agreement, there was a simple change to the act. Everyone who might just possibly, by some stretch of the fevered imagination require it received a half day's training. The job eventually was done by one bloke who spent perhaps half a day a week on it.

About five years ago, a different passage in the act was reinterpeted by the High Court. This affected everyone, since it is a routine decision that ~200 people have to make many times every week. Nobody could quite understand what the learned gentlemen and lady of the court had meant and how it was to be applied in the "real world".

But after a few weeks our local whizz kid decided he knew, so lectured us for fifteen minutes on the matter. I don't think anyone was any the wiser when he finished. He resigned a few months later. And god help you if you got lumbered with a case he'd done the initial work on.

Meanwhile we have had courses on fraud, which came down to a reminder to fill out timesheets correctly with a couple of amusing instances of gross abuse. Another was how to use all the wonderful features of the telephone system, of which only the voice mail and call forwarding section is actually used.

But nothing on the actual law we are supposed to apply.
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 2:59, 6 replies)
Leadership and Penis
During my time serving in the RAF, I was selected from a cast of several to attend a leadership course. This appeared to consist of a series of retarded team-building exercises. One of these exercises involved a large amount of small foam cylinders and an empty floor. The idea was that these cylinders would be placed on the floor in a random pattern and each person would attempt to guide their blindfolded team-mate through the foam minefield. Because obviously matters of national security require the same leadership qualities as an episode of the Crystal Maze.

The instructor, a naturally boring man with a small, untidy moustache and a savage overbite, decided that it would be a good idea to leave his students in charge of placing these cylinders in a fiendishly complicated pattern on the floor while he nipped downstairs for a coffee. He exited the room, along with the people who were to be blindfolded (obviously so they couldn't instantly memorise whatever intricate configuration we came up with). As soon as he left the room, I put my leadership skills to work in organising these cylinders. I outlined my proposal for the pattern, considered advice from my fellow planners, and set my team to work.

After around five minutes or so, the instructor re-entered the room. He could only applaud as he was faced with six giggling adults and a crudely drawn foam penis, complete with scrotum, spanning the entire length of the particularly large classroom.
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 1:51, 4 replies)
Doing the first aider course yet again.
I found myself in a room with 8 other men of varying age, staring helplessly at a vision of womanly temptation I've yet to see the equal of.
I mean she wasn't just cute, she was stunning in way that takes ones breath away and to add insult to injury was obviously also utterly lovely in personality and demeanor and bloody funny too.
So dribbling helplessly and not really taking in what she was saying in the tiny vain hope that she'd make eye contact and make our lives complete, we dabbled in the world of emergency situations.
Then we had to pair off to practice bandaging each other. She counted around the room then looked me full in the eye and said "you'll have to have me I'm afraid"
I was afraid alright.
And that's how I got to carefully place the elbow of this perfect woman in a sling trying to avoid touching her lovely breasts, trying not to think of anything vaguely sexual and trying to avoid the envious eyes of the others in the room.

Then her husband came to collect her and broke my dreams forever.
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 1:43, 2 replies)

This question is now closed.

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