Magazine article International Trade Forum

Export Training in the '90S

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Export Training in the '90S

Article excerpt

EXPORT TRAINING IN THE '90s

In a dynamic business environment, particularly in the international marketplace where competition is continuously increasing and technological innovations are constantly being made, export enterprises need staff who are competent, flexible and career-motivated and who are able to adapt to new company structures, goals and strategies. Human resource development within a company therefore has to be looked at in a broad context, in which individual improvement of skills and expertise is linked to the firm's career planning and organizational strategy. More and more export executives consider that the success of their businesses depends upon the extent to which their companies can provide training to their staff on a continuous, long-term basis.

To help companies meet these challenges in the '90s, trainers and training institutions will need to provide a wider range of services than many of them are presently doing. Trainers in many cases will have to give greater emphasis to developing individuals' talents. At the same time, training institutions may need to reorient their approach, organizational structure and management policies.

Requirements of the trainers

To provide more relevant training to export firms, trainers will increasingly be required to act more like training managers and business consultants in partnership with business than as traditional teachers. They will also need to have a greater understanding of the practical issues in international trade than they now do. To remain up-to-date with business developments they should make a particular effort to carry out consultancies in client business firms. Furthermore, in view of the recurrent changes taking place in the international market, they should undergo specific training focused on new marketing and foreign trade issues throughout their career.

In addition to providing direct training, trainers will be expected to give greater attention to counselling business executives on managing human resources in their firms, including career planning. They will therefore need to work closely with company officials responsible for staff development. This involvement should be on a continuous basis, from the planning stage through implementation of the training programme.

Using outside expertise: As exporters and importers attending training programmes are concerned mainly with practical applications, trainers should rely increasingly on practitioners willing to share their experience. Trainers will therefore need to build up a network of consultants, trade specialists, exporters and trade promotion experts capable of transferring their knowhow to others.

The catalytic role of the trainer will be essential in bringing together all such technical expertise and combining it with suitable training methods, educational technologies and modern facilities, including telecommunications and such techniques as teleconferencing, to meet the trainees' and their companies' expectations. This entails working closely with trade associations, business support services, chambers of commerce, research institutions, trade promotion organizations and other agencies concerned with trade matters.

Appropriate training methods

Training programmes should be problem- or issue-based with a multidisciplinary approach. The teaching methods used in them should be mainly "participative," that is, with the direct involvement of those being trained, relying on self-development with real-life applications. Emphasis should be on the learning process as a continuous, systematic and integrated component of individual professional development. Programmes should thus aim at providing participants with skills to develop their talents in line with the export enterprise's goals and strategy.

Specifically this means that trainers should focus on teaching particular skills and techniques, rather than simply on relaying information. …

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