24 May, 2018

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Luanar secretaries and management pose for a group photo after the training sessions
The role of the Executive Assistant and Personal Assistant is constantly changing as the responsibilities of Senior Executive Leadership continue to evolve. These days, priorities and concerns of Senior Executives are changing constantly, so the Personal Assistant should be on top of these shifts in order to remain effective and relevant in the workplace. Understanding the modern PA role, possessing and applying the relevant skills effectively, is a manifestation of adaptability to change.

It is against this background that The Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) organised a training workshop for secretaries and personal assistants (PA’s) at the institution for them to acquire skills and abilities that will enable them to adapt the modern secretarial services.

The training took place at Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe on Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd May 2018.

The two day training aimed at letting the secretaries expand their role, develop and effectively align their working practices with the fast changing leadership responsibilities of their bosses to ensure a fully productive working relationship.

Facilitated by Mrs. Majorie Phiri, the objectives of the workshop were to discuss the role of modern PA/secretary, to identify and mention ways of creating a positive organizational image, to discuss the best practices when working with senior management and the importance of a good working relationship with their bosses and to manage records effectively in their various offices.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the workshop which was also graced by University Registar, Dr. Philip Kaonda on Tuesday, Deputy Vice Chancellor of LUANAR, Professor Lewis Dzimbiri, said the secretaries play an instrumental role in the running of the university. He said the university needs people with appropriate skills, knowledge and attitudes hence the training to meet the needs.

Professor Dzimbiri expressed gratitude to the secretaries for their willingness to learn and assured them of more skills development programmes to come.

“Going to training is an important component of willingness to learn and we know that you can take a horse to a river but you cannot force it to drink, but we know that you have drunk a lot. We will always make sure that we do more than what we have done and I am sure this is the beginning of a series of human resource development experiences.” He said.

“The fact that we came here as a group; the idea was to make sure that, as LUANAR, we all have to be on the same page in terms of the work that we do,” added Prof. Dzimbiri.

The Deputy vice chancellor therefore thanked the facilitator, Mrs. M. Phiri for accepting to come and offer the training.

And in her remarks on behalf of the participants, president of LUANAR secretaries, Hannah Ndovi thanked management of the University for organizing the training. She said the training has refreshed them and that there will be a change in their performance.

The training was based on interactive learning where learners learnt by doing. It also placed more emphasis on shared participant experiences, lessons learned and best practices. Small-group exercises were used for each step to reinforce the lectures.

It is expected that the secretaries will put into practice whatever they have learnt and will also advise the university staff on how best they can change because change is a process that starts with individuals.