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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, on the-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 in service 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), Mahapatra (2002) among others have emphasized the importance of in-service training as it increases both quality and quantity of output, engenders self-confidence and good judgement, develops positive orientation towards work, is very crucial in organizations especially in the changing environment in which executive secretaries work. Mahapatra (2002) opined that in-service training is essential in public establishments to improve and maintain the service quality and standard of staff and the organization itself. Therefore, the executive secretaries require adequate training so that they can handle confidently more diverse and demanding assignments. He maintain that the goals and objectives of the organization will be achieved by the motivation, dedication, quality of work and skills that would be exhibited by the training staff in their work environment. He strongly posited that in-service training plays a vital role in ensuring that the organization staff are prepared to take on their responsibilities. Bryson (1990) maintained that every organization has the basic purpose of achieving a set of roles with respect to the management of its human resources. 4 This is done by improving the performance of members of the organization to achieve a set goal or objective for the organization. This is because the productivity or success of any given organization depends to a large extent on the caliber of the people who work for it. Thus, this can be achieved when human potentials that serve as the backbone of the organization are developed, and properly managed. If the staff are effectively developed, their knowledge, skills and competence can lead to enviable social and economic heights of the organization in its goals accomplishment.
Training and development is designed to ensure that the organization has a competent and skilled workforce to meet present needs and taking steps to ensure that fresh skills and knowledge are being developed to meet future needs. These in-service training program could be achieved through attendance at University, attendance at relevant conferences, seminars, symposia and workshops. Also, through study leave, self-tuition, use of on-line packages, undertaking new responsibilities (Ade, 2007).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Technological advancement has been extended to all spheres of human endeavors. Offices are daily modernized through the use of latest equipment and procedures. These affect the executive secretary and his profession. The challenges of new techniques and innovations demand from executive secretaries much greater responsibilities and improved performances on their jobs. 6 The essence of providing in-service training for executive secretaries is to enable them develop professionally, keep abreast on new knowledge and technology in their office procedures and operations. However Mahapatra (2009), have observed that public establishments pay only lip service to in-service training of their employees and this automatically accounts for staff inadequacies such as poor job performance. It is in this Gbosi (2008) maintains that where in-service training exists, it is haphazardly coordinated, poorly monitored and organized. Ofordile (2007) observes that in-service training programs have continued to experience the constraints of inadequate funds. This is because employees’ retraining in public establishment is considered expensive in terms of time and maintenance of staff during the program. He maintains that lack of willingness by the employees to be retrained and some staff with long experience may not show interest in in-service training programs that do not have any weight for purpose of assessment and they hardly take retraining seriously as a means of changing behavior of the organization. There is also the management inability to recognize the in-service training needs of their employees. The work force is generally under-tapped, underutilized and therefore falls short of its anticipated contributions to the realization of organizational goals. Therefore, these above inadequacies, if not properly addressed will result in poor performance, difficulty in attaining organizational goals and objectives, and lack of individual development and so on. These anomalies should urgently be corrected for the benefit of both the organizations and their staff members. It is therefore very significant to find out the in-service training needs of executive secretaries in public establishments in Kaduna State.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objectives of this study is to investigate the needed in-service training for executive secretaries in public establishments in Kaduna State. Specifically, the study sought:
1. Find out the Information and Communication Technology skills needed by executive secretaries in public establishments in Kaduna State.
2. To find out the Administrative/managerial skills for in-service training needs of executive secretaries in public establishments in Kaduna State.
3. To find out the impact of ICT skills on the performance of executive secretaries in Kaduna state.
1.4 RSEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will guide the research to achieve the stated objectives:
1. What are the Information and Communication Technology skills needed by executive secretaries in public establishments in Kaduna State?
2. What are the Administrative/managerial skills for in-service training needs of executive secretaries in public establishments in Kaduna State?
3. What is impact of ICT skills on the performance of executive secretaries in Kaduna state?
Ho: there is no significance relationship between Information and Communication Technology skill and the performance of secretaries in public establishments
H1: there is no significance relationship between Information and Communication Technology skill and the performance of secretaries in public establishments
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is hoped that the findings of this study will be of immense benefit to administrators, secretarial staff, researchers, secretarial education students. Administrators (management): There is no single organization that can do without training and developing its staff. As such this study will provide adequate 8 information to the management that will go through it to get a foreknowledge of the types of in-service training needs of their staff and the importance of in-service training and the condition that determine that. They could adopt the findings to plan and organize in-service training programs for their staff. Secretarial staff: The executive secretaries will be made to realize that adequate in-service training programs enable them to possess the level of intellectual’s skills with which they can perfectly and proficiently handle the demands of their daily routines and to understand that adequate training will help to ensure job satisfaction. The results of the study will hopefully stimulate further research on the in-service training needs of other cadres of the secretarial staff by opening the frontiers of information on more in-service training programs. Finally, secretarial education students would benefit from the findings of the study. They would understand better concepts being taught and be able to express their views about concepts encountered in classroom interactions.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study an investigation into the needed training for executive secretaries in public establishments initially was aimed to cover at least five local government area in Kaduna state, but due to time and some other unforeseen constraint, samples was taken only from Kaduna North local government.
1.8 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study was restricted to in-service training needs of executive secretaries in public establishments in Kaduna State. This study was delimited to public establishments in Kaduna North. The study did not assess other employees of public establishments in Kaduna State. The ministries represent the geographical spread of public establishments in the state.
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