The NCBA Trainers Course – Towpath Talk, February 2015

In this issue Derek Stansfield, Director of Training for the NCBA, outlines the highest of the NCBA training awards.

The Trainers Course is the only one of its courses that is run directly by the NCBA, the remainder being delivered through Accredited Training Centres (ATC). The delivery of the course is by Tutors who are selected from a small pool of around 8 Senior Trainers, thus ensuring a consistency of delivery throughout the country. The course is of two and a half days duration.  The maximum number on any one course is four and there are two Tutors allotted to each course.

There are pre-course requirements that include having held the Certificate in Community Boat Management for a period of time and some experience of leading or teaching. There is also some pre course work to undertake that will include gaining knowledge of the Trainer’s area on the NCBA website and the documentation included, knowledge of the Training Regulations, and some introductory reading on communication models and teaching styles. Candidates are also asked to provide a generic risk assessment for a CCBM course that will be used as a basis for the session on risk assessment.

It is a mixture of theory and practical sessions although the practical sessions are allied to how do we teach the skill.  It is highly likely that the course will take place on a boat that is unfamiliar to the candidate and no apology is made for that for as a Trainer they should be able to train on any boat on any Category A & B waterway.

The theory side of the course deals with a variety of topics including:

  • Learning styles and teaching methods for which the Honey and Mumford model is used to identify the learning styles of candidates so that these can be adopted later in the course.
  • The process of assessment, which gives the trainer an objective basis for assessment, helps in assessing candidates on a consistent basis and helps to see in what areas they may improve.
  • How learners are perceived and how this may help or hinder the learning process.
  • Lesson Plans, which include preparing a lesson plan and giving a presentation to the group based on the lesson plan.
  • Communication skills that include identifying communication skills and the factors that can help or hinder effective communication.

Practical aspects of training are covered including:

  • Taking over a boat and the relevant boat checks and preparations for moving the boat.
  • Getting to know how the boat handles involving trainees on the boat each taking a turn on tiller and instructing each other.
  • Practical teaching exercise where one candidate is appointed as trainer who will then appoint skipper and crew and conduct an exercise that could include: reversing; steering along the waterway; mooring and winding, entering and leaving a lock; emergency procedures etc. This followed by an evaluation led by one of the candidates and overseen by the Tutor.

At the end of the course there is a one to one session with candidates that will include an evaluation of the course generally and more importantly of their performance on the course.  It is impossible to produce the perfect trainer after just two and half days and an agreed development plan is created with a realistic time scale to be implemented.  This is conveyed back to the sponsoring ATC who would be responsible for overseeing the completion of this development plan.

A Trainer’s Certificate is awarded and is re-registered every year and is valid for 5 years after which in order to be renewed requires attendance at a one day Refresher Training Course.

Further details and dates of courses can be obtained from

About the Author:

Derek Stansfield
Chair of National Training Committee, Advisor & Senior Trainer (North East)