- Identify the number of current trainers you have for each AF program in your work plan, and determine if these trainers can meet your training needs, or if you need more. Here are some questions to consider as you determine the right size of your trainer workforce:
- Is there at least one trainer for each program you want to offer? Note that you need a team of two trainers for the AF Self-Help Program training workshop, and you may need a YMCA certified trainer if you are planning to train individuals who want to become YMCA certified aquatic instructors.
- Are your existing trainers willing to travel to different geographic areas within your community, state or chartered area? Is there a need to have trainers residing in different geographic areas?
- Are the current trainers still available and willing to conduct a training/class at the times needed?
- How many training workshops do you need to do this year? To be cost-effective, you should have at least 10 people attending each workshop. Consider how many new partnering agencies and facilities you have and replacement leaders needed.
- Do you have a surplus of trainers given the number of training workshops you need to do? Realize that more is not necessarily better. Each trainer needs to conduct at least one training workshop every year to stay certified. The consistency of your training and the quality of your programs is more likely to hold if you have a small number of trainers with multiple opportunities to lead training rather than a large number of trainers who teach infrequently.
- If additional trainers are required, determine if you need to train local trainers or bring in a trainer from another state or chapter. It might be necessary to locate a trainer outside your chapter with AF assistance if:
- You are just starting a program.
- You have very few existing leaders and instructors.
- You do not currently have any leaders and instructors with enough experience or leadership qualities to become a trainer.
- You have limited training needs. For example, you only plan on doing one training workshop in the program this year.
AF STAFF TAKE NOTE!
If you decide that you need to bring in a trainer from outside your area to conduct a training workshop, the easiest way to find a suitable candidate is to contact the AF National Office Public Health Department. Call 404-872-7100 and ask for the Community Services Program Manager to obtain the names and contact information of "Flying Squad" trainers who are available to travel.
Importing a Trainer
- Review the trainer position descriptions so you know what basic qualifications you need.
- Look for the best in show—outstanding leaders and instructors who demonstrate the 3 Cs of effective instruction and leadership:
- Communication Skills
- Caring Personality
- Look for outstanding leaders and instructors in your current pool. For example:
- System partners and other collaborating agencies can recommend competent leaders and instructors who have been teaching within their facilities. The New York State Health Department found that employees of agencies that offer the classes tend to be better leaders and trainers than volunteers not affiliated with a particular facility or agency.
- The AF Southern California Chapter was successful in recruiting by networking with site partners and recruiting potential volunteers from the chapter’s strong young adult network.
- Convene some of your key existing trainers/staff, and get their input in identifying who they think would be good prospects among your current leaders and instructors. At the AF Southern California Chapter, program staff work within their communities to build relationships among instructors to identify potentially good trainers.
- When recruiting leaders and instructors, look for those who already demonstrate the willingness and the abilities to become a program trainer. The New York State Health Department begins their leader/instructor relationship by promoting that there is another level to achieve beyond leader/instructor. For those wanting to achieve this level, it is a reason to work even harder in their current role.
- Use people who have held leadership positions in the past. They are ideal candidates for grooming.
- Determine the best way to contact your prospects and the best persons to make the contact. Usually it is most effective to hand-pick your potential trainers and use a personal approach to invite them to become a trainer.
- When recruiting one-on-one, use the following approach to help ensure that you are addressing the potential trainer’s interests while also communicating the program needs.
- Open—Communicate how critical trainers are in helping to improve the lives of people with arthritis and what you’re trying to accomplish through your training program. Becoming a trainer provides them a much larger role in helping to change the lives of people with arthritis.
- Message—Find out what motivates them and communicate how they can achieve what they want by becoming a trainer. Also, seek their special skills and qualifications as they relate to training and explain how these can positively affect your training program.
- Close—Ask the individual to commit to becoming a trainer.
Additional Recruiting Tips
- Be honest about the time required and your expectations.
- Be clear on how you will handle any honorarium for trainers. Do you have a current policy in place? If so, make it clear to the trainer. This will vary from organization to organization and chapter to chapter. Be sure to address issues such as if you reimburse expenses only, or if there is an honoraria added on top of expenses.
- Recruit face to face. It is more effective than over the phone.
- Use an individual approach for each potential candidate you court. Volunteers are the most successful at recruiting other volunteers, so consider having your current well-respected trainers do the asking for you-- 85 percent of those asked to volunteer by someone close to them say YES.
- Consider quality versus quantity. Seek the cream of the crop, and know what to look for in an effective trainer.
AF STAFF TAKE NOTE!
Qualified AF program leaders and instructors who are interested in becoming a trainer must attend an AF-sponsored Train-the-Trainer (TTT) workshop. These workshops may be conducted by the AF National Office or by AF chapters. To find out about the schedule for upcoming national TTT workshops, contact the AF National Office Public Health Department, Community Services Program Manager at 404-872-7100.
A Word About Train-the-Trainer Applicants