The Turner prize goal

The
future of training looks bright – e-learning, the new economy and globalisation
are some of the challenges ahead. But what is the CIPD doing about it? Paul
Turner, its new vice-president of training and development, tells all to
Catriona Marchant

Hands
up who can remember the name of the CIPD’s last vice-president of training and
development? Ask a classroom full of trainers this question and few would know
the answer. Probably it would then spark a heated debate along the lines of,
“What, if anything, does the institute do for its members who are full-time
trainers?”

The
role of training is changing dramatically with the relentless advance of
e-learning, the new economy and globalisation just some of the many challenges.
So what support is the main professional body giving to its members? How is it
responding? Personnel Today put these questions to the CIPD’s new figurehead of
its honorary post of vice-president of training and development.

The
man in the hot seat is Paul Turner – a seasoned HR professional who says at
least four times during the interview that he cares passionately about
training. Well, probably not as much as his avid support for Manchester United
or his salsa dancing lessons, but as a new vice-president he is setting off on
the right track. Starting with HRD 2001 at Olympia this week he has a clear
view of the CIPD’s training agenda during his two-year tenure.

Turner’s
stated training priorities for 2001-2 centre on the need to develop knowledge
and skills to meet forthcoming global demand. In particular, his agenda
includes:


Knowledge and innovation – e-learning, training in the new economy, global
corporate learning, for example


Professional practice – annual training survey, topic for trainers on the
CIPD’s website


Public policy – “influencing” rather than overt lobbying

He
says these need to be underpinned by the vast changes in the business
environment, such as globalisation and the impact of technology in training.
They should take into account the questions of individual and organisational
learning and the context in which training takes place in an organisation.

Turner’s
“day job and a half” is group HR business director at Lloyds TSB – a bank which
has 80,000 employees and a huge HR department of 800 staff. He has had several
senior training roles – one as director of the TSB Group Management College
which delivered management education in the early 1990s.

Turner
brings the hard lessons learnt in the commercial world to his new role.  “One of the challenges we have got at Lloyds
TSB is that we are just putting in a £20m HR information system and on the back
of that is a big push towards e-learning. At Lloyds TSB we have a corporate
university which is web-based and we have had a lot of good feedback from that,
so I can also bring that perspective to the CIPD post.” As he puts it, “I have
practical hands-on experience and can see through the hype.” This is something
needed in a world where it is technologists now who can have the upper hand.

Not
only does Turner have an HR and training background, grounded in business, he
is also a visiting professor at Nottingham Business School and was a member of
the CBI’s education and training affairs committee.

Ebullient
and media-friendly, he could be just the man to articulate the, undoubtedly
hard but often unsung work going on behind the scenes at the CIPD’s Wimbledon
headquarters, and even, dare we say, shake up the CIPD’s training and
development side a bit?

He
is more diplomatic. “Not shaking up – it doesn’t need shaking up, but what I am
doing is providing a different perspective which I think is what a
vice-president should do. There is already enough expertise in there.”

This
expertise includes a new face – Martyn Sloman, a bluff Welshman, who used to be
director of management education and training at Ernst & Young. Sloman is
publishing a new book on e-learning this week which Turner cites as an example
of what the CIPD is doing in this area.

E-learning
is one of Turner’s hot topics for the training year to come and so it should
be. The institute’s annual training and development survey of its own members,
published this week, shows that the use of the Internet and intranet has grown
by a third in three years.

But
isn’t e-learning just incredible hype – a high-tech tool that took over the
training agenda last year? Not according to Turner, and some of his professed
passion for e-learning starts to show as he warms to his subject. 

“This
my main worry – what I want to make sure is that trainers take ownership of
e-learning, give it a direction and make sure it is integrated into other types
of learning. It will be part of an overall offering which will include
face-to-face and other traditional methods as well as being technology-based.

The
CIPD survey shows that only 17 per cent of those questioned are using
technology a great deal and companies most commonly use e-learning only for
communication skills, health and safety and induction courses. So isn’t a
company putting a 100 courses on the intranet just wasting its time and money?

“Individuals
have different learning styles and different preferences and what we have to do
is satisfy the needs of individuals and their preferred learning styles and
that of their organisations,” says Turner. “In that respect the Web is a
fantastic platform for delivering the training – there is so much potential.

“Web-based
training is a fantastic opportunity if trainers can add it to their armoury of
other training skills, he says, quoting from a recent seminar where a speaker
advocated that, “The sage on the stage is being replaced by the guide at your
side.” 

But
Turner disagrees that online learning’s mission is to slash training budgets –
leading to what has been called the “McDonalds-isation” of training. “The
driving force at the moment is the ability to deliver lots of information
quickly and at low cost, through the Internet.”

He
believes strongly that the CIPD should take a lead in steering this opportunity
for its members and should be at the top of the training agenda.

Another
forward-looking part of the agenda is the whole question of training in the new
economy. Turner defines this as, “Not about dotcoms. It is a technology
influence, particularly the Internet and the way the world of business now
operates”.

He
adds, “Expectations have been transformed by the new economy and I think we
have to transform our training offering to satisfy a much broader range of
media, whether it is any time, anywhere learning or whether it is coaching.”
Turner is keen to set research and guidance in motion on this during his term
of office.

It
is all very well to look forward to what is new. Unfortunately, the job comes
with historical baggage in tow. How can the CIPD change the perception among
trainers, still resentful of the now seven-year-old marriage between the old
Institute of Personnel Management and the Institute of Training and
Development, that training has been subsumed into personnel?

“We
are moving towards an integrated approach to HR management,” he responds. “More
and more now, if you work on any significant project, there are going to be
elements of training, empl-oyee relations, diversity – a whole range of
things,” he says. “It is really critical that we have an integrated approach in
how we deliver HR – and training is such a vital part of that. I want to keep
training in the mainstream not as a separate, standalone activity.”

What
is important, he says, is that, as in e-learning, HR professionals, whether
training or personnel, have got to set the agenda now. “What I want to do with
the CIPD is to make sure that the training portfolio is part of that although
recognising and respecting some differences.”

And
what about the complaint that the CIPD needs to be more practical and less
theoretical for trainers?  “You have got
to have a practical element but what is missing at the moment is the strategic
contribution that training can make to an organisation. The CIPD has to have
this balance between practical, pragmatic approaches to training as a lot of
our training people want that, and also an overall thrust towards a strategic
contribution in training, and we will be trying to do that as well.”

Practical
things for trainers include a “topics for trainers” series and the certificate in
online learning that trainers can access through the CIPD Website.

Turner
defends the CIPD’s past record for speaking out on public policy for training
but concedes that having more of a 
profile for the CIPD is important in this area. Perhaps the reason why
its trainer members have been so disgruntled in the past is that they do not
know what work is being done.

“With
all these things you have got to get a balance. I think it is much more
important to influence and set the right agenda, than have any personal profile
– but it has got to be high enough to make a difference.”

Turner
would still rather be remembered for what work he has done rather than whether
trainers remember the name of the last CIPD vice-president of training and
development in two years’ time. But as a training enthusiast who has given up
his half-day training course to be interviewed at short notice by Personnel
Today – profile must count for something these days at the CIPD.

CIPD
training & development

Of
the CIPD’s 110,000 members, 15,000 are full-time trainers and 35,000 have
training as part of their HR responsibilities. They range from training
directors and training consultants to those who deliver the training.

The
CIPD’s research programme on training and development is managed by two
full-time and one part-time adviser, Mike Cannell, Jennifer Schramm and Martyn
Sloman, who work in the “professional knowledge and information department”.
They report to the CIPD’s assistant director general Ward Griffiths.

In
addition, John Stevens, director development and public policy, initiated the
current drive on workplace learning, and is responsible for the CIPD’s policy
activities on training and development.

In
addition to research, the team is responsible for initiating much of the
training information on the CIPD’s Website such as Topics for Trainers, an
eclectic series of practical hints and tips and Online Training Digest, which
provides updates on developments in public policy.

Contacts
m.cannell@cipd.co.uk
j.schramm@cipd.co.uk
m.sloman@cipd.co.uk
Tel: 020-8263 3313
www.cipd.co.uk

The
role of vice-president

What
exactly does a CIPD vice-president do during his/her two-year term in office?
He is nominated then elected at the institute’s AGM in Harrogate. The post is
an honorary one and there are seven vice-presidents in areas such as training
and development, employee relations and pay and employment conditions. The
vice-presidents meet up every two months.

The
position is similar to a non-executive director in business – vice-presidents
meet their own advisers at least once a month and work with them to develop a
strategy and look at future research which can feed into practice.

“I
think what they want is someone who is coming in at a fairly senior position in
their industry,” says Paul Turner who has first-hand experiences of managing a
large training budget at Lloyds TSB. “I have a good view on the trends – both
on demands coming from employees and business as well as from suppliers,” he
says.

What
difference does 12 months make?

These
were trainers’ biggest gripes about the CIPD a year ago


Training and development has been subsumed into personnel


It should be recognised as a profession in its own right


The remit of the CIPD is too broad


Membership criteria for the CIPD is not inclusive enough


Trainers require a more practical approach


Members do not have the chance to be part of the institute’s magazine


The CIPD is in competition with some of its members

Response
from Martyn Sloman, CIPD adviser, training and development:

“There
are many specialist groups in the CIPD’s membership, now nearing 110,000 and
growing, and we value and seek to serve and support them all.

“Our
agenda for trainers is extensive – qualifying schemes based on newly reviewed,
business-relevant professional standards (designed with significant trainer involvement),
the production of relevant and stimulating material from our research, public
policy and professional practice programmes; Web-based information, including
the on-line training digest, and networking; and branch-based opportunities for
interaction and meeting colleagues.

“The
big issue for all of us is linking our efforts with the objectives of the
business. Trainers cannot afford to isolate themselves from other activities of
their HR colleagues; just as all functional specialists need to work across
organisational boundaries and create effective strategic alliances in the
interests of the business.

“We
are witnessing a general blurring of boundaries as divisions disappear.
Knowledge management, performance management and training all seek to maximise
people’s effectiveness. From the user’s point of view the relevant applications
will be increasingly accessed on his or her personal computer. Trainers and
other HR professionals need to be in the business mainstream together.”

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