AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE NEEDED TRAINING FOR EXECUTIVE SECRETARIES IN PUBLIC ESTABLISHMENTS ( EDUCATION PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS)
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The emergence of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Nigeria has posed a serious challenge to all facets of the Nigerian economy. This has necessitated executive secretaries to keep abreast of the current technology as it affects office procedures and operations. For executive secretaries to contribute effectively and efficiently to the achievement of goals and objectives of the organization they have to be retrained and be given a learning environment on continuous basis in order to acquaint themselves with new challenges in the office. Notwithstanding, there is no doubt that advancement in technology has reshaped and transformed the way executive secretaries discharge their duties. The competent and effective executive secretary can be obtained through in-service training programs. For in-service training program to be adequate and sound it should consist of three phases, namely: pre-service training phase, onthe-job experience training phase, and in-service training phase (Diraso, 2007). In-service training is a long life process in which an employee is constantly learning and adapting to new challenges of his job. This he does through reading of books, journals and magazines in his area of specialization, through discussion with colleagues and supervisors on matters concerning his profession and attending courses and conferences relating to his profession. The aims of inservice training include: to update the employees and revamp their professional knowledge, skills, and competencies and to broad 2 areas of specialization (Itotoh, 2009). Itotoh maintained that such areas may include: writing, editing, production and distribution of correspondence (publications), maintains all corporate books and accounts, receives and disburses fund (finance), assists in recruiting new members by responding promptly to telephone and e-mail enquiries, maintains all membership, maintain all records and files all forms (regulatory) and fluent in Hyper-Text Markup Language (computer literacy). According to Osuala and Okeke (2006), training involves providing employees with directed experience that enables them to be more effective in performing the various tasks that constitute their jobs. If effective, the training experiences result in changes in employee’s attitudes, work habits, and performance.
From the above definitions, one can now say that in-service training is a means of building up skills through reading professional materials, attending conferences and workshops in order to perform excellently and to bring about high productivity in the work place. Aminu and Ibeneme (2005), defined in-service training as a calculated attempt towards improving quality of an employee in terms of skills, knowledge and attitude with a view to obtaining qualitative and quantitative output from him. In-service training needs arise when workers or employees cannot cope with new techniques and innovations in their professional areas. They maintained that in-service training is a well-planned and organized efforts to change the behavior and to improve on the skills acquired by an employee as to perform to acceptable standard on the job. 3 In-service training is a vital aspect of organizational management. This is because it is an investment in people and its essence is to enable the staff acquire more knowledge and better techniques by way of improved standard and quality of work as well as help create job satisfaction for the staff. It should be noted that in a fast changing technological age, the need for employees in-service training cannot be overemphasized, hence, it should be encouraged, organized and be a continuous exercise (Ofordile, 2007). Several authors such as (Onah 2003)