The arrival of the second forklift training instructor
On Monday morning I made a start on writing up a 5 day syllabus, expecting my new colleague to arrive soon. He eventually turned up at about 11:30am. He had started work at 08:30am and had traveled down to London in company time. As his letter did not indicate what he could claim for travel he had come first class and had a meal on the journey. Then he had taken a taxi from Euston to Wembly so he needed to recover his expenses ASAP. Mr Fortnams office was on the floor above ours but we could all hear the shouting match going on between him and this new instructor.
Then It went quiet. Apparently they both went to see the Director of Personnel on the 6th floor and we came to the conclusion that this new chap had earned dismissal on Day 1. How wrong we were. After lunch he turned up and introduced himself. Ike Pruden. (Webmaster: I got to know Ike Pruden when he came to work for me years later at AES Training Ltd. He could start an argument in an empty room!)
Until friday he had been a senior instructor employed by the Liverpool Dock Labour Board. He was a competent instructor on Counterbalance fork lift trucks, Cranes, Derricks and Stevadorage (how one loads goods onto a ship to ensure it remains stable on its voyage no matter how many ports it visits.) He had never operated a Reach truck but had been assured at his interview that he would be trained.
Then he told us that he was also a Senior Shop Steward for Liverpool’s dock workers and thankfully he knew more about employment law than the bosses of this place, which he had proved this morning. Then he asked me what I was doing and when I told him he exploded. Writing up training standards is managements job, we deliver the content. I tried to explain that no one else knew enough to do it. But off he went to see Mr Fortnam to tell him that he would not get involved in writing up the standard.
We thought that would be the straw that broke the camels back, but later on he came back and put a chair at the end of my desk and just sat there. Later, he went off to find accommodation and that evening we discovered he was in the same digs as my furniture removal colleague and I. We were a bit concerned about that but he turned out to be quite pleasant.
On the Tuesday I went to Cambridge University and met the lady in charge Dr Belbin, who introduced me to several of her colleagues, in particular a Dr Sylvia Downs who was the creator of Trainability Assessment Testing. Everyone I was introduced to presented me with a business card and they all had a great number of letters after their names. I really felt out of my depth. Sylvia Downs explained how she had developed Trainability Testing during a commission for the Prison service. Attempting to train unsuitable prisoners was equally as expensive in prison as it is outside. She had successfully come up with trainability tests in the building trade for brick layers and in Woodworking for lathe and saw operators.