Training design skills keep English rugby refs on the ball!

Training design skills keep English rugby refs on the ball!

A need for a more learner-centred approach to training design and development has led the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to seek out fresh methodologies

The mission of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) is - to promote, foster and govern rugby in England through maintaining stable structures for the game that enable its successful development at all levels for the benefit of all its participants.

The RFU aims for excellence in everything it does - after all England are the current Rugby World Champions! It has recognised that excellence in refereeing is a key factor in the retention of players within the game at all levels. In recent years the organisation has therefore dedicated a great deal of time, effort and resources to referee certificate in training and development.

Andy Melrose is a Referee Development Officer at the RFU. He is clearly passionate about the contribution that well-trained referees make to the health of the game and to the safety of players: "We want to ensure that the game is played in the safest possible environment - so the players can play next week. We also want to ensure that the players can enjoy the match - so they want to play next week. We also want referees who are competent and relish what they do. These are the reasons why the RFU is committed to the ongoing development of well structured and vibrant training programmes for all match officials."

The thirst for a more learner-centred approach to training design and development led Andy Melrose to seek out fresh methodologies: "In some ways the outcome was really down to sheer good fortune", he concedes. Andy had previously completed the Delivery Skills Refresher Course in 2002, achieving the TAP certificate in Training Delivery Skills.

"This seized my interest because it provided well evolved mechanisms for objective assessment of the delivery process, placing due emphasis on delegate participation rather than tutor presentation."  In February 2003 Melrose took the logical next step and enrolled on a further course offered by The Training Foundation leading to the TAP Certificate in Training Design and Development Skills.

According to Melrose the benefits were immediately apparent once he returned to work: "I found the knowledge and skills provided through participation in the TAP Training Design and Development course invaluable when upgrading the training process for match officials. I have already redesigned the two major training courses for our referees using much of the TAP methodology. There is a clear structure and logic which we have been able to translate into significant positive change."

"In the long term I hope that all of the Development Officers in the Referee Department and our Regional Trainers will be able to undergo training under the TAP programme."