Career file: Satrina Brandt

This
month Satrina Brandt, Investors in People project manager, Raynesway
Construction Southern (a subsidiary of Balfour Beatty)
Age 27

What
does your role involve?
Steering the organisation through the Investors in People process and
advising management on HR practice.

What’s
the best thing about it?
The autonomy and variety. In one week I can be looking at topics ranging
from strategic business planning to induction.

What’s
the worst thing about your job?
Dealing with the geographic dispersion. Our offices are as far apart as
Bedford, Worcestershire and Winchester. Our production workers are even more
widely spread.

What
is your current major project or strategic push?
Implementing a mentoring programme across the organisation.

Preferred
terminology – training, development, education, learning, performance
improvement?
I see definite distinctions between training, development and education and
therefore use all three.

Favourite
buzzwords
Every profession has their jargon. It gives some members of the profession
a sense of belonging but is generally disapproved of outside the circle. I try
not to use buzzwords or jargon at work and don’t have any favourites.

Are
you good at self-development?
Yes. I firmly believe in lifelong learning although I also believe this can
come in many forms.

What
self-development have you done in the past six months?
This is the first job I have had in the construction industry and I have
learnt a lot just in my day-to-day work. I am also on the editorial boards for
the Journal of Management Practice and the Australian Journal of Management and
Organisation Behaviour. The articles that are sent to me are often
research-based and make for interesting reading.

Where
do you want to be in five years’ time?
I am Australian and have come to the UK to work. In five years’ time I hope
to be living in Australia although it is difficult to say what sort of job I
will have.

What
was the most useful learning experience you ever had?
Coming to the UK has been a great learning experience. I have had some
great work experience and have done a lot of travelling to places I never
considered going in the past. My husband and I went to Iceland in April.

What
was the worst course you ever went on?
I try to get something out of every course I attend, even if it’s just one
or two points. I can’t say I’ve ever attended a course where I have learnt
nothing.

What
did you want to do for a job when you were at school?
It changed weekly. One week I wanted to be a fashion designer and the next
a music producer. I tended to take art-related subjects and never considered a
business career.

What
was your first job?
When I turned 15 I started my first job as a sales assistant in the local
news agency.

What
was the best career decision you ever made?
Going to university to study HR.

And
the worst?
I don’t regret any job I’ve had.

Which
of your qualifications do you most value and why?
My honours degree. In Australia, honours is an extra year so while my
friends were getting jobs, earning money and going out, I was doing my honours
thesis and working. It was hard work that paid off when I was awarded first
class honours.

How
many minutes is it since someone senior in your organisation said “People are
our greatest assets”?
Not for a whole day now.

Evaluation
– holy grail or impossible dream?
Evaluation is a bit like cable television. Before you have it, you think it
will be great. Once you get it, you realise it is not everything you hoped it
would be, but after a while you can’t live without it.

How
do you think your job will have changed in five years’ time?
As a project manager I can only hope that I won’t be here in five years
time, otherwise I haven’t done my job.

What
do you think the core skills for your job will be in the future?
I think employment law and information technology will become increasingly
important for all HR professionals.

What
advice would you give someone starting out in T&D?
Never ignore or fail to explore the knowledge and experiences that people
bring to a training session. It is just as valuable for trainees to learn from
each other as it is for them to learn from the trainer.

How
do you network?
Making initial contact with people is one thing but keeping in contact is
another. I try to keep in contact with people I have worked with in the past
and others I have met.

If
you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
A reporter for a travel programme would be good, but living out of a
suitcase and being constantly on the go would get tiring.

What
is your motto?
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. Trite
but true.

Describe
your management style in three words or less.
Trust and openness

How
would you like to be remembered by your colleagues?
As someone who got things done and got them done well.

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