Publishers ‘get’ training. My experience is that we’re always ready to pass on and share what we know, with thousands of on-the-job hours expended each and every year on developing, training and mentoring colleagues and peers. Sometimes, though, we simply have to look elsewhere to boost and develop our skills and experience—and for independents, that can be expensive, especially when it’s often difficult to find the right course or measure return on investment.
That’s why I’m so pleased to be working with the IPG team to create the IPG Skills Hub, a new website that will offer a range of online training courses and resources to help all of us build the skills we need to grow our businesses. And best of all, access to the Hub will be free for IPG members.
The Hub will sit on a Learning Management System (LMS) developed by a company called Thought Industries
. This gives us access to a range of instructional design tools that are helping us to build different types of courses and share resources designed to support, reinforce and track self-study.
We’re focussing for now on the training needs identified in last year’s Harbottle & Lewis Independent Publishing Report
and reinforced by a survey of members, in which you collectively made marketing, publicity and rights your priorities. As well as covering core publishing skills, we’ll also be offering courses on general business and interpersonal skills—but with the publishing context very much to the fore.
With the diversity of the IPG audience in mind, we’re developing two main types of courses:
Essentials: multi-unit self-study courses designed to provide an overview of a particular area or topic. They will typically comprise seven or eight units with a range of supporting materials, exercises and tests, assuming little or no prior knowledge. They’re aimed at anyone new to the subjects and those who want to refresh their experience and skills.
Masterclasses: a tool for sharing new thinking, ideas and case studies from IPG events, members and other experts, designed to help us get to grips with the more strategic challenges we’re facing.
The Hub is also where you’ll be able to access resources such as our FAQs and lists of useful organisations and a new series of short-form In Brief tools and tips. An 'Ask the Expert' area will be the home to the IPG Forum and details about our Business Helpline and mentoring scheme.
I’ll be introducing the Hub and sharing the work we’ve done so far at the Annual Spring Conference
next week so, if you’re there, do come along to find out more. We’ll also be sharing regular updates as we head towards site launch at The London Book Fair.
One final thought: the Hub is a community resource which will work best if as many IPG members as possible engage with it. We’ll be putting out calls for Course Leaders who might be prepared to share their expertise to help us build courses; testers, especially for new Essentials courses; and, most importantly, feedback from you on the training needs you face. Do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org