Design, Creation and Management
The Training Plan is a key element of the TMS Training Management System. A well-designed Training Plan will provide the information TMS needs to keep you up to date on your department's training needs. This article will define the concept of a Training Plan, explain how to design a new Training Plan or transfer you existing Training Plan to TMS, and discuss how to use TMS to manage Training Plan compliance.
The Traditional Training Plan
A Training Plan is a series of rules describing training that is needed for persons within your organization. The traditional Training Plan identifies all the job classifications in the agency. For each classification, a list is created of all training required for a person in the position. Training requirements come from several sources, such as State mandates (CPR/First Aid, Supervisory Course), internal requirements (Canine Handler, Range Qualification), and optional training to enhance job performance (Report Writing, Interviews and Interrogations). Training requirements are assigned one of the following priorities:
Ideally, a list is also created and maintained identifying the job classification for every employee. With no "master list" of these job duties, the new Training Manager is left in the dark.
In the era of paper records this was the only practical way to manage the Training Plan. This approach has several weaknesses, however, that are addressed by the TMS automated system. It is very common at most departments to have employees who perform a variety of duties. A Patrol Officer, for example, might also be a Range master and a DARE Instructor. The old Training Plan system makes it difficult or impossible to address the training needs of these employees.
Many jobs also share a common set of training requirements. A Patrol Officer, FTO, and Detective all share a number of training mandates such as Continuing Professional Training, CPR/First Aid, and Range Qualification. Since the Training Plan defines all training required for a person performing the job, these requirements are duplicated on several pages of the Training Plan. When a new mandate is announced, many changes must be made to update the Training Plan. Because it is so difficult to maintain the training plan, most tend to become out of date.
The TMS Training Plan
TMS adds another dimension to the Training Plan that addresses the weaknesses of the old system and provides the tools to quickly and efficiently track and report on Training Plan compliance. TMS encourages the design of a "Lowest Common Denominator" Training Plan. This allows creation of "Task Assignments" that identify groups of employees who share common training needs. By moving from the general to the specific, you identify all of these groups within your agency. You then assign each employee to as many of these "Task Assignments" as needed to exactly describe the employee's training needs. Once this is complete TMS will compute training compliance for one employee or the entire department in seconds.
When a new mandate need to be added to the Training Plan you make one addition to the appropriate Task Assignment. Immediately, every employee with that Task Assignment is covered by the new training mandate. This ability turns your Training Plan from an out-of-date reference document to a living, dynamic real-time training management tool.
Creating Your Training Plan--The Lowest Common Denominator System
We want to move from general to specific in designing our Training Plan. Think in terms of "Which groups of employees share common training needs?" When you identify a group create a Task Assignment in the Training Plan that describes this group. The lowest common denominator is "Everyone who works here." This should be your first Task Assignment. Give it a name, such as "AnyTown P.D. Employee." Add any training requirements that are universal to all employees, regardless of their job within the agency. Your Department Orientation might be one of these courses. Even if you don't have a common training requirement for this group yet, create the all-inclusive Task Assignment anyway. Some day, the boss will say "I want everybody trained in..." and you'll be ready.
The rest of the Training Plan will vary from one agency to the next. The next layer in the Lowest Common Denominator system will probably contain Task Assignments describing POST classifications, such as Peace Officer, Non-Peace Officer (civilian employees), Reserve Officer, and Dispatcher. The Peace Officer task assignment is the ideal place to include all the training requirements that are common to all Peace Officers up to the rank of Sergeant, regardless of rank or job, such as CPR, Continuing Professional Training, Range Qualification, Impact Weapons, etc. If your department has a common set of training requirements for all managers, regardless of rank, create a Task Assignment to describe them.
You may have noticed that up to now, we haven't addressed ranks or job duties. We've thought in terms of common groups of training needs rather than job titles. This is the key to designing your Training Plan.
The next layers of the Training Plan get more specific. We now start looking at ranks and job duties. Create a set of Task Assignments for those ranks that have rank-specific training requirements. An example is Sergeant, which has a mandate of the POST Supervisory Course. When the rank-specific training has been addressed, your next step is to identify duty-specific training needs. All detectives might share a Task Assignment that includes a requirement for Interviews and Interrogations training. A Task Assignment would also be created for Juvenile Detective that includes the Juvenile Sexual Assault Investigation course.
Tying It All Together--Roster Task Assignments
Now that the Training Plan is complete, we need to tell TMS what training requirements to apply for each employee. We do this by adding Task Assignments to the Employee Roster record for each employee. This gives TMS a "hook" between the employee and the Training Plan, and makes the whole process come together.
As you add employees to the Roster, be sure to also add Task Assignments that describe the employee's training needs. Give all employees the all-inclusive Task Assignment described earlier. Add a Task Assignment describing their POST classification. Continue adding more specific Task Assignments until you have defined all the employee's duties. Save the record and TMS is now ready to help you manage training compliance.
Where are we? Where do we have to go?--Reporting Training Status
To track compliance with the Training Plan, select Reports from the menu then select the Training Status Reports report category. Choose a report that meets your needs and click the Create Report icon. With status reports, the Target Date chosen is important. If you want to know where you stand today, accept the default of today's date in the Report Criteria screen. If you're planning for next year's budget, set the date to the last day of the next Fiscal Year. If you're anticipating your POST audit, set the date to the day after the auditor is due. TMS will now calculate training status as of the date specified, including all training on record up the target date. Check the Include ONLY non-compliance if you only want to see those persons who need training. Otherwise, all employees with training requirements will be shown, along with their status and recertification information.
This concludes our discussion of the TMS Training Plan. It is one of the major reasons that TMS is such a unique product and one of the ways that TMS helps you "Work Smarter--Not Harder."
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