We recognize we are sending this note in very tough times in the pork industry. Many of us on the ground caring for pigs wonder “how can I help?” And in a lot of cases the answer is simply, “Please continue to provide attentive and compassionate care for the pigs under your watch.” Yesterday, a caregiver sent us a note where he emphasized, “I must work even harder in these times to help our farm. I will do this.” And then we have folks like Emma and her team at Maple Leaf Agri Farms who remind us all that doing what we do each day well is exactly what we are supposed to keep doing. And Emma shows us that finding creative ways to get it done in the midst of uncertain times is possible.
Training is something you just can’t put on hold when you work with animals,” says Emma Ansell, a Training Coordinator for Maple Leaf Agri Farms (MLAF). Ansell, who has been around livestock all her life, loves positively impacting people. “One of the best parts of my job is watching people grow and develop into their roles.”
From the outset of their Pork Avenue Training Portal implementation, MLAF has followed the science of how adults learn and applied all three steps of the recommended See it. Do it. Teach it. learning experiences.
Ansell explains more about how they have applied the program, “We have levels for each area (Sow and Nursery/Finisher) and we set curriculums for the new staff to follow when they start working for MLAF.”
Normally trained staff like Ansel would conduct the 3rd step of training on-farm and in person. For the Teach it part of the in-barn verification, Pork Avenue’s Training Success Managers recommend that the verifier approach the learner and say, “Today I am your student. Pretend I am a new employee and teach me ________.” Here they insert the name of whatever lesson is being verified in the blank.
Ansell explains how the learner usually reacts. “On the first visit we do find that the staff are nervous, especially if they are being evaluated in an area that they currently do not work in every day. But we find if we go through a few questions first in the office and then go out on farm they relax more.
We also spark up conversations with questions about ‘how they are finding the job in the barn,’ ‘if they are enjoying their training’, etc.”