Our Trainers, Our Pride profiles outstanding Home Team Trainers, a key factor behind our ability to keep Singapore safe and secure.
Meet Assistant Superintendent of Prisons (ASP) Venu Arsh, 43, for whom public transport is simply too easy a daily commute, which is why he can usually be found jogging from his home in Queenstown to the Home Team Academy
(HTA) in Choa Chu Kang.
A Senior Trainer with the Singapore Prison Training Institute, ASP Venu teaches the basic skills required of a Singapore Prison Service
(SPS) officer, and is a healthy lifestyle advocate to everyone he meets.
How did you become a Home Team Trainer?
I joined SPS in 2002 when I was 25 years old. After a few years of service, I attended the Physical Training Instructor Course, which I enjoyed as I’d previously served as part of a Commando Battalion during my National Service.
I was a physical fitness trainer before being assigned to teach the Prison Officer Course in 2006. I now instruct in the basic duties required of Prison officers. At the Singapore Prison Training Institute, we also conduct leadership training programmes, of which my personal favourite is the outdoor experiential leadership course!
What are the qualities of a good Home Team Trainer?
You have to walk the talk. Our Trainees place a lot of trust in us and we must work towards becoming experts of our fields.
My personal mantra is “learner first.” I visualise myself as a Trainee undergoing a programme that I’ve crafted, and ask if a concept can be better understood if I use a different analogy. If you only know whether a training session has been effective after the feedback survey at the end of a Trainee’s term, then surely it’s too late.
How do you enhance the learning experience for your Trainees?
I strive to create that “aha!” moment in the classroom. This involves adapting our teaching points to our Trainees’ profiles and engaging with them actively. If I were to simply read off the presentation slides, I’d lose my Trainees’ attention instantly.
PHOTOS: Shafiq Guee and Samantha Fuentes
I also try to connect with the hearts and minds of my Trainees by infusing my teaching with real-life examples and creating a safe space for learning. I’ll draw up a contract with each new batch of Trainees, with one of the clauses being openness to making mistakes. These can become very good learning points to be shared with everybody.
How have your training methods evolved over the years?
One big change is that we now use virtual reality to complement the physical training that we conduct. We can simulate a very realistic experience for Trainees, without compromising safety.
Training virtually also gives us the ability to record a Trainee’s performance and to do a detailed analysis – practically second by second – to provide better feedback to the Trainee. It has really been a game-changer for our training curriculum!
PHOTOS: Shafiq Guee and Samantha Fuentes
I also completed a Specialist Diploma in Advanced Facilitation at the Singapore University of Social Sciences
. The programme is recognised by HTA as part of its Trainer Competency Development Roadmap and helps enhance the capabilities of Home Team Trainers. With this certification, I was able to introduce process facilitation and growth mindset shift into the design and delivery of my lessons.
Share a memorable experience from your career as a Trainer.
Back when I was a physical fitness trainer in my 20s, I had a Trainee who was close to 40 years old. He was an outstanding senior officer but was prone to injuries and had difficulty passing his fitness test.
I tried my best to help him. After work, I’d meet him at a running track nearby to teach him drills and techniques. He went from failing his fitness test to passing, attaining the silver standard and finally the gold standard. Other senior officers saw this great change in him and became motivated to do the same.
Seeing the lighter side during one of ASP Venu’s training sessions. PHOTO: Shafiq Guee
A few years later, I met this senior officer again. He said to me, “Every time I pass my fitness test, I’m thankful for your guidance. I owe my progress to you; you helped me to become a better version of myself.”
And that’s what I love about being a Trainer – my passion for the job can inspire a positive change in many other people.
Our Trainers, Our Pride: Mind Over Matter
Our Trainers, Our Pride: Dedication That Knows No Borders
Home Team Training Excellence (TRaX) Awards
The Home Team TRaX Awards are given out by the Home Team Academy
and recognise outstanding Trainers and Training Units in the Home Team’s Training and Learning Community. At a virtual ceremony held in December 2020, nine Trainers (individual awards) and five Training Units (team awards) received honours for their commitment to innovation in learning. Among the recipients was ASP Venu Arsh who received the Home Team Trainer of the Year Award (Full Time). Congratulations to all our dedicated Home Team Trainers! Click here
to find out more about the Home Team’s Training and Learning initiatives.