Apr 19, 2019

Why CEF Learning Events Make a Difference

Ms. Boryana Yankova-Sharkova from the Bulgarian National Revenue Agency shares her reflections on joining a learning event on our tailor-made training-of-trainers methodology through which we help public finance officials develop confidence and skills for delivering dynamic, engaging and effective learning activities, and strengthen their ability to share knowledge domestically and internationally.

“I have been working for the Project Management and International Affairs directorate of the National Revenue Agency of Bulgaria for 13 years. I love my job – it is interesting, challenging and also rewarding. My responsibilities include close cooperation with the European institutions, other Member States of the EU, and international organizations like the Center of Excellence in Finance. My colleagues and I also support our co-workers in their tasks that have an international dimension. We have noticed that while being great professionals, they find it very difficult to cooperate effectively with their foreign counterparts due to limited language skills. That is why it was decided to launch a training course that develops proficiency in.

I realized that in order to be helpful and to provide high-quality training, I needed to improve my own communication and trainer skills. So, I started to search for opportunities and attended a couple of national events.

As I wanted to learn from the best, I did the most obvious thing: I had a look at the CEF training program. Unsurprisingly I found what I was looking for – a learning event on Training-of-Trainers for Tax Administrations, which took place on September 25–27, 2018 at the Center of Excellence in Finance (CEF) in Ljubljana.

The training was superbly organized. Each part was focused on a different aspect of the delivery of training. There were many practical exercises, clear, helpful examples, exchange of opinions and practices. The trainer, Mr. Andre Booms from the Dutch Tax Administration Academy, recommended interesting books for further development of the acquired skills. Moreover, he gave us useful tips all the time, e.g. how to involve the participants, how to make them remember what the trainer says, how to arrange the training sessions, etc.

Each participant, together with a partner, delivered a short presentation during the learning event. Not only did I learn from others’ experience but I also broadened my knowledge of their countries and administrations. Each one of us received professional feedback, including detailed recommendations for improvement. I find this especially helpful because, as said by Winston Churchill, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

I was very impressed by one fact presented during the CEF training: When learning new knowledge or skills you have to use it within 6 weeks for it to be stored in your long-term memory. When you don’t use knowledge or skills actively, there is a great chance that you won’t remember. That is one of the reasons why, when I came back to Sofia, I put in a great deal of effort to finish the drafting of the English-speaking skills training (which I developed together with a colleague). It is now included in the NRA internal training catalogue for 2019 and will be launched in the coming months.

I would like to express my warmest thanks to the CEF colleagues because their trainings make a difference.”