Our company name is Three Mountains Learning Advisors, but our company website and emails have the extension .academy www.threemountains.academy. Which academy? Are we a school? Sometimes we receive e-mails from people saying they would like to study at our academy. However, so far, we only offer training on request. We mainly make e-courses and online training materials for paying clients.
These requests got us thinking. Why not live up to our name and start a real academy – a life skills academy?
We will continue to make e-learning materials on demand and promote their free use for all. Alongside this, we will also start offering additional face-to-face training where learners can practise what they have studied in the e-courses. The idea is that the face-to-face training will be paid for by learners’ employers.
Our Life Skills Academy will focus on important topics for employability in Rwanda, like communications, business skills, creative thinking, problem solving, putting the customer first, pitching and public presentation, getting to grips with your e-mails and WhatsApp, and developing healthy working habits.
This will help employees within organizations to acquire professional skills and improve the workforce in Rwanda. On a personal level the courses will be helpful in personal development and to understand yourself better.
Currently, Jan Willem, Gloria, Gretta and Nehemie are interviewing employers about training needs among their workforce and their willingness to pay for that. What we found so far is that bigger organisations do all their workforce training in-house, whereas small organisations do not have the money to spend on training. It’s the medium-sized enterprises that are looking for cost-effective ways to upgrade the skills of their employees. To our surprise, the most sought after skill employers want to improve is, “understanding the context and the goal of an assignment, rather than just doing what you have been told.” They want employees to display a better understanding of why they are doing what they are doing. It’s a complex skill, which we will definitely address in our academy.
The way forward
To get the academy going, we need to develop at least four or five topics. We have one topic already, the e-course Improving Your Daily Communication. We recently practised face-to-face training with employees from Chameleon and students from Kepler. This was great fun and they found it very useful. We are working on Presenting in Public and Working in an Organisation.
We are now looking for sponsors, either donors or companies, who can cover the development costs of these e-courses. Developing good e-courses takes a lot of time, and the fact that they will be distributed for free on the internet will benefit many people.
We are also looking for partners who want to share their online courses. Together, we could create an online library of self-paced e-courses. A great example of this is: https://www.free-learning.nl/ The website is in Dutch, but if you scroll down you should find the basic idea quite clear. Each course (in this case in health care) is sponsored by a different employer, and the combined package is an amazing set of resources. Please contact us if you can help or want to know more about this idea.
Gerry van der Hulst