Special knowledge and the high art of learning

20.04.2020

Back in ancient Greece, the great Plato dreamed of “tools which would teach men their own use”. After all, every hammer is only as good as its user – and vice versa! The provision of tailored information for users, the imparting of knowledge and the training of skills were therefore already central components in the range of today’s TSCNET Services when it was launched almost seven years ago. Our HR & Development Manager Aanchal Sood from the Corporate Services unit oversees all online and offline offerings of the TSCNET Academy. Especially the user seminars and trainings are also closely connected with Enes Halilovic, Lead Operations Manager in the Service Operations unit. He is not only “a man of the first hour” at TSCNET Services and has helped to develop the company and most of the services, but above all he has played a major role in the development and implementation of the training offers. We have met the man, who has been called “Doctor Grid” a few times in recognition, for an interview.

Where does your passion for this important topic come from?

I owe my passion for the training world to two factors: Character and experience. Character, because I am a person who loves to share and pass on knowledge, especially to the younger generation. In my eyes, when knowledge is being passed on and merged with innovative ideas from those who receive it, great positive changes come about. Experience, because I was actively involved in providing trainings at my previous job at ELES, the Slovenian transmission system operator, and learnt about its strong importance for a company’s long-term success.

What role does training and educational activities play at TSCNET Services?

As we started, we first organised only internal trainings, because we were group of individuals with vastly different level of experience and we wanted to bring all operational staff to the required knowledge level. Afterwards we started also offering trainings for customers, and following their needs, the product trainings developed through time to three various levels. To bring TSCNET closer to the customers, we first organised Starter Training, presenting the whole TSC idea and TSCNET vision, goals, and service portfolio. Training was suitable for new employees of both, TSOs and TSCNET.

Does that happen here in the Munich offices? The technical facilities are ideal …

That’s true, but today this training takes place mainly online, because this way every user can go at his own pace, independent of time and place, and, if desired, team up with colleagues. It could not be more flexible.

That makes sense. What about the second level?

Well, on request of our customers, we introduced practical AMICA Features training, where we inform the users, i.e. the employees of our customers who work with it, about the various functions that are constantly being expanded. AMICA stands for Advanced Multisite Integral Congestion Assessment and is a main tool for the security assessment of power grid operation for TSOs in the TSO Security Cooperation initiative. Here, training is primarily about interaction and practical experience. For this reason, it takes place in person in a conventional classroom training. AMICA is constantly being developed and therefore the training programme, material and duration are adapted accordingly.

And finally, what is number three?

That is the so-called operational simulation. To make sure that the acquired knowledge can be applied in the right way, the handling of problems and their effective and efficient solution is crucial. There are two kinds of trainings in this level. Some are organised as online courses, but with live participation, when users interact with each other online from their home TSOs, and together they tackle simulated real-life problems to better understand how the various tools work and how they are most useful to them. The other one is organised as a workshop, when representatives from TSOs in specific region meet physically in TSCNET premises and work together as a team to work out the solutions to the simulated extraordinary operational situation.

What components must a good training portfolio have in your eyes?

Well, it conveys everything that is necessary to be able to take on and fulfil tasks. This also includes understanding the employer or partner company. But it also requires so-called soft skills – from communication and coordination to efficient work and IT tools. Lastly, product training for customers is key. It is great if there are innovative technologies and knowledge, but it’s far better if the user has the ability to really make use of them. It also lays the foundation for fruitful exchange – a common understanding as a prerequisite for great improvements.

How would you see the current range of professional training courses?

Our company is growing each and every year, our services are becoming more and more complex, and our industry is also evolving in seven-league boots. In this demanding situation we have managed to also expand our training and education programme in many exciting new directions. And we have also kept on breaking new ground. The best thing from my point of view is that we are still as committed to continuously improving our services as we were at the beginning.

So, what do you actually do when you develop a new training or course?

The basic principle is always the same: the needs of the participants, that is the users and employees. First, we identify the demands and wishes, then we collect material. Once we have enough, we decide on the format, including whether e-learning is suitable. We put ourselves in the position of the participants and estimate the time required for the individual aspects. Then we plan and organise. This takes between two and three months for small modules and up to six months for larger ones. During this time, we accomplish a variety of milestones, the main elements and also the right trainer.

Is it different with online courses?

For online courses, we collaborate with a specialised partner who has extensive experience in creating e-learning courses. We provide the ideas and content, and the specialists visualise them or create multimedia animations. In our experience, an online training course should be between 22 and 40 minutes long in order to achieve optimal effect. In a multi-stage process, we revise all content until the quality meets our high expectations. Only then do we release a course module.

How can the success of a training course be measured?

That depends on the training format and has also changed over time. Since the beginning we collected the feedback of the participants after each training was finished and asked them to evaluate different criteria such as room quality, material, IT equipment, trainers, etc. We collected the different points that the participants gave us in each of these categories to see where we stand. If we got more than 7 points, we considered the training a success.

Have you managed to achieve this goal sometimes?

Fortunately, the lowest overall number we ever achieved was 7.7! But nowadays you can measure success also directly, for example with a little quiz at the end of each module. The participant then knows immediately whether he or she has understood the content or not. And we know right away! Furthermore, occasionally the feedback on e-learning modules is collected from the customers and based on the feedback, the recent version is prepared to maintain the high quality.

How do Covid-19 and the coronavirus pandemic affect the trainings offered?

Unfortunately, a lot! We had to cancel and postpone several sessions already. This is really a pity, but we are not letting ourselves be beaten and are concentrating on turning these obstacles into opportunities. We can count ourselves lucky that we already have an established and proven e-learning platform. A good example is the MRA module, i.e. for Multilateral Remedial Actions. It has been an immense learning experience for both participants and for us. Or the GSK module on Generation Shift Key – it is exemplary for a high-quality, concise learning product. Or our Grid Repository Training, which presents various challenges and prospects of our sector. By summer 2020, all TSC TSOs will be presented with their respective modules.

One question to conclude: Which things would you like to change and improve in the future?

As I have more and more management tasks to take on now, an important task is quite banal – the search for a successor. Apart from that, it is primarily a matter of expanding technology and IT. On the one hand this means such simple things as enough data transfer capacity, especially in times like these, but on the other hand it also means new methods and functions. The corona virus “only” puts more pressure here. All in all, I am not afraid of the challenges. On the contrary: I am excited about the new approaches that will emerge. I am immensely proud to have been part of this exciting journey so far, and look forward to being one of the shapers and pacemakers of what the future holds.

Many thanks for the interview, Enes!

To enable customers to make the most of the RSC’s services, a wide range of training and courses is available at the TSCNET Academy

Linkup
> Visit TSCNET Academy log-in page (html)

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Soft skills training for concrete goals

12.08.2019

“Soft skills get little respect, but they will make or break your career,” says Peggy Klaus, a best-selling author and communication and leadership coach. We at TSCNET Services take a similar view. “We highly believe in the importance of continuous learning and growing together,” explains Aanchal Sood, HR & Development Manager and responsible for the TSCNET Academy with its training opportunities. The latest training is a good example of both our commitment and the opportunities we offer our employees.

At the beginning of July, one third of our employees took part in a tailor-made training programme in a well-equipped hotel directly at Lake Starnberg, about one-hour drive south of Munich. The two-day training was focused communication, team building, awareness, and diversity. A similar training was organised at the end of May and another batch is planned for September 2019 as well – this way all our employees get the opportunity to attend the programme and learn in a nice interactive environment with their colleagues. The training received first class ratings from the participants and enriched our workplace environment.

Impulses in a new environment
“When I look back at the training,” says Gopi Jayasurian, who recently joined as Junior Operations Manager, “I would see it as an overall learning experience in a professional yet very serene environment with beautiful nature around it. I think we all realised the importance of emotional intelligence and mindfulness for teamwork and organisation”. He also appreciated the direct communication and the exchange with his new co-workers. “I could not have asked for a better start than this!” emphasises Gopi.

One of Gopi’s new colleagues is business analyst Irina Boiarchuk, who has been with TSCNET Services for more than a year and a half. “For me, the training was a great refreshment through the new environment and the open, creative and motivating atmosphere,” she states. It was already her second soft skills training with us. “I have been able to further develop existing skills and gain new experience at the same time.” Irina especially liked the very lively teambuilding activities and the opportunity to get to know her colleagues and their so different personalities even better. She also gave high praise to the external trainers from High Balance, a local coaching and training provider.

All for one and one for all…
Its founder Nicola Rohner, dedicated to “holistic training and coaching”, was one of them – as often before. “Once again, we had an awesome training session in which we were able to work on the individual potential of the employees as well as grow together as a team,” she concluded. Working in such a fast growing and diverse company with so many different backgrounds and cultures is both a challenge and a wonderful opportunity. “In such a situation, being able to change perspectives and respect each other’s individual characteristics is not just nice to have, but an essential factor. But this is also one of the reasons why I enjoy working with TSCNET so much – the team’s unconditional will to change things and themselves for the better.” This by the way is exactly what we will try to do again with our future training offers.

TSCNET Services believes in first-class training and personal development (private pictures from training participants)

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A new way of learning: TSCNET Academy!

03.10.2017

Sharing knowledge and experience with our customers is an essential objective of TSCNET Services and might easily be considered as one of the cornerstones of TSCNET’s mission. Our customers have diverging individual interests and aspirations, and a corresponding educational technology has to comply with these client requirements. A fitting tool had to be created and this is how our e-learning project was born!

Anywhere, anytime learning
At TSCNET we have decided to develop an e-learning programme providing individualised professional training and expert support. While e-learning can essentially be understood as network-enabled transfer of knowledge and skills, a specified e-learning solution corresponding with the high demands of TSCNET has to guarantee appealing training possibilities available to everyone, independent of time and place. Thus, the educational technology of TSCNET utilises multiple strategies for imparting knowledge in an individual manner to varied interested parties.

We started working on the e-learning project in early 2017. Initially, the focus lies on providing interactive training courses by means of a time and location-independent platform that is available for a large audience. In doing so, we follow the principles of blended learning and have created an education programme combining online digital media with traditional teaching methods. Learning has never been easier.

Take a look around TSCNET Academy!
Our e-learning solution has been designed for 300 TSC users from our member TSOs and for TSCNET employees. The project’s main component is a versatile Learning Management System. The first e-learning course with which the system is equipped deals with the MRA procedure. This 60-minute course familiarises our users with the complete MRA procedure by allowing them to carry out simulations and do-it-yourself exercises. And what is the most important –  everyone can learn at his own pace! The second e-learning course on GSK functionality is already in development. It is foreseen to be launched in early December of 2017.

Apart from being a training tool for our customers, the e-learning platform is destined to sustain TSCNET’s organisation, by supporting internal trainings for our employees, e.g. exercises on office safety and ISMS procedures. Feel free to visit and experience our TSCNET Academy!

> Visit TSCNET Academy e-learning platform (html)

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Old environment with new horizons – change of job within TSCNET

02.03.2017

No matter how interesting and exciting a job is, sooner or later every employee may feel the lure of a change in profession or may just fancy a new challenge. That may mean leaving the old workplace behind in search of a new, professional “promised land”, while also learning new skills along the way. It’s an opportunity for a qualified and experienced employee – but a great loss to the company. On this view, TSCNET Services offers and promotes a different solution: Change your job without changing your employer.

This is what Tin Bobetko did: In 2015, he had started as an Operator within TSCNET’s Operations team, coming from TSC member HOPS, the Croatian transmission system operator (TSO). As of now, he works as Business Implementation Manager in the Business Development team. With his eight years experience in Power System Engineering, he is responsible for the development and implementation of new tools, processes, products, and technologies to boost the services TSCNET provides to its customers. “Throughout my working career, I’ve always been enthusiastic about projects that required a lot of teamwork and offered the possibility to acquire new competencies and to evolve in various areas,” Tin says. This attitude is highly valued by the head of his new team, Mario Princip: “Tin joins us at an enthralling and challenging time, and both his vast experience and his urge for knowledge will help get a strong tailwind in our sails.” For a ship on its course to new destinations, that sounds like a most promising start.

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TSCNET’s deep dive into soft skills

04.10.2016

Training and development help to strenghten employees’ skills and to improve a staff’s performance. Most of TSCNET’s employees participated in two full days training in Oberaudorf about an hour’s drive south of Munich, Germany. These interactive course was facilitated by two external trainers focusing on a variety of soft skills and keeping the audience highly engaged and active.

Negotiation skills and conflict solving ability took centre stage. Since conflicts are an inevitable part of life, it is important to deal with them in a positive, courteous and constructive way – to turn conflicts into opportunities. The training helped to learn to work with different types of people and to look at the bigger picture with the focus on finding a way forward together and achieving the organisational goals.

In addition, the importance of non verbal communication and body language was emphasised on through various exercises which will help in more effective public speaking and presentation skills. To top it up, an archery team building exercise under the direction of skilled instructors provided fun and a challenging, healthy competition.
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TSCNET Taining Days 2016

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Training day for TSCNET employees

22.10.2015

Self-management and organisational skills help people to improve both work productivity and satisfaction. Experts consider them to be an essential component of high performing cultures. More than 20 TSCNET employees now participated in a full-day training near the office in Munich, Germany. The highly practical course led by a versed external trainer focussed on time-management and organising workflow.

Participants developed their ability to prioritise tasks and budget time in order to maximise personal productivity regardless of distractions within a busy working environment. The so-called Eisenhower Decision Matrix was introduced as good practice to distinguish between urgent and important tasks.

In addition, the tailor-made training was used to define general meeting rules and to hone communication and presentation skills for better public speaking and to get the message across more effectively.

 

TrainingDay

 

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Applying R&D results

06.03.2015

The new “R&D Application Report”, published by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), describes and values the application and deployment of theoretical and practical results provided by European TSOs’ research and development (R&D) projects. The report accentuates concrete impact of these projects for Europe and depicts the main barriers.

> See ENTSO-E newsletter from 6th of March 2015 (html)

> Open ENTSO-E R&D Application Report 2014 (pdf, 4.2 mb)

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ENTSO-E releases TYNDP 2014

10.07.2014

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) today released the new European Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP) 2014. The document describes the plans to strengthen the European power grid until 2030 to integrate an increased share of renewable energy – 120 transmission projects are believed to provide more benefits to consumers and citizens than they cost. Now all stakeholders are asked to give feedback.

> See ENTSO-E TYNDP website
> Open TYNDP (pdf)

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Well-developed grid

31.01.2014

The new annual Monitoring Report demonstrates that ENTSO-E makes headway on its research and development (R&D) activities. The report considers 38 R&D projects in all, funded either through the European Commission, member states or by TSOs directly.

Many of the R&D Roadmap 2013-2022 destinations and technical objectives have already been reached. “ENTSO-E remains optimistic that we will achieve the targets prescribed in R&D Roadmap 2013–2022,” states a ENTSO-E newsletter.

> See ENTSO-E R&D Monitoring Report 2013

> See ENTSO-E R&D Roadmap 2013-2022

> See ENTSO-E Monitoring R&D Achievement webpage

 

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