Eleven jobs that require you to complete weird training
Jane McGuire

Eleven jobs that require you to complete weird training

Unusual employee training courses

First published date August 27 2014 Amended date October 07 2014

Have you ever moaned when your boss has asked you to go on a management training or first aid course? Writing about courses all day got us thinking, surely there are some jobs out there that require you to complete training that is far more unusual? From firemen to maids, when you stop and think even the most everyday sounding job has an element of strange employee training. So to make you feel a little better about that quality assurance course next week, we have put together a list of ten jobs that require you to complete much weirder training.


Fire fighter

Fire fighters have to go through extensive training programmes before they are selected to work with the emergency services. Part of the CPAT training every fire fighter has to pass involves learning how to climb a ladder confidently. Sounds simple, but trainees will have to climb two thirds of the way up a 13.5 metre ladder, evacuate a leg lock safely and then take both arms off the ladder and twist to identify a symbol placed on the ground. If you thought that was the worst part, another element of training involves carrying an eight and half stone dummy down flights of stairs. Being sat in a classroom all day doesn’t look so bad now does it?


Air hostess

Although cabin crew training focuses on first aid, standards of uniform, customer service and how to perfect the flight safety demonstration, when air hostesses in training reach the health and safety part, they will be asked to go down the inflatable emergency slide.


Food taster

Eating food all day may sound like the perfect job, but food testers literally have to learn how to taste, and undergo training in palate improvement. Most taste testers will have a speciality, for example tasting salt in foods or recognising certain flavours. What’s more, there is a certain technique when it comes to tasting food correctly, taking a small amount in your mouth, spreading out the tongue and understanding the flavours, usually with your mouth closed. A major downside to the job is that you still have to eat foods you hate, so not a career for the picky eaters out there.


Silver service waiter

There is nothing like impeccable silver service techniques, but for the waiters learning the tricks of the trade, elements of the training can be a little unusual. Learning how to polish culinary correctly (using steam from hot water and a dry cloth), carry plates, position food and serve potatoes with a spoon and fork (it’s tricky – we tried). Another important lesson all waiters must perfect is pouring wine; making sure the label is visible, the wine is poured from the right hand side, guests are served in a clockwise direction, the glass is two thirds full and water is poured quickly afterwards. Who knew things could get so technical.


Restaurant staff

When working in a restaurant, staff will also have to master the art of napkin origami in order to impress diners. From the classic French pleat to the standing fan or adventurous bow tie, napkin art can take hours to perfect and seconds to destroy.


Cruise ship maids

Whilst we are on the subject of origami, have you ever gone on a cruise or stayed in a hotel and found some impressive towel art in your room? Maids may be asked to learn how to fold towels creatively into the staple swan, monkey and elephant designs, so think of this patient folding next time you are on a QuickBooks course.



If you thought working in a coffee shop was a simple job, think again. With demanding customers and boiling liquids to contend with, baristas have to perfect the flawless cup of coffee every time, whether low fat, full fat, foam free or soya. Besides, many baristas are sent on latte art courses to make things that bit more complicated. Not many of us notice the heart, leaf or creative swirl on top of our coffee, but this is a skill that takes time to learn, achieving the perfect milk technique, steaming correctly and free pouring the latte art onto the top. So Instagram before you drink next time.


Train driver

As Londoners we love to moan about the underground – delays on the line, planned engineering works and strike action being top of the list. When it comes down to it however, the underground driver’s jobs are a lot more technical than we realise. Learning the theory of trains inside out, each line is different and from the Bakerloo to the central line, every inch of the train must be covered. In addition, the drivers have to have three months of lessons and complete 100 hours of training before taking their eight hour driving test.



Although police training is top secret, a member of the office told us about her mother’s surveillance role play training when joining the force. A police officer is one job where you expect to leave your acting lessons at home, but the training involved spending a day pretending you were a convict being followed, wondering the streets, hiding in shops and putting on disguises. This unusual training is intended to get police officers in the mind of a convict so they know what behaviours to look for when on the job.


Model agents

Many famous supermodels are discovered walking down the street or in a shopping centre, and it is the model agent’s job to find them. This means fashion training in what to look for and what faces will translate on camera; a great job for all you avid people watchers out there.



Although this may not be an everyday career, we love the sound of the gravity free training astronauts have to undergo. As fun as it may look, the g force training is used to acclimatise the astronauts to the movement in order to avoid space motion sickness, which will affect two out of three space travellers.  Despite all this, we still want to have to a go.


For those of us who are looking for a far more normal training course for themselves or their employees, we have plenty of options listed on our training site. Unfortunately you will not find towel origami or train driving test courses, but we are sure we will have the far more normal option you were searching for.


Jane McGuire

Jane McGuire received her BA (English) from the University of Loughborough. A yoga enthusiast with a sweet tooth, in her spare time you will probably find Jane in the gym or online shopping.