A day in the life of… a learning and development director

The learning and development director has overall responsibility for training, working closely with HR to provide appropriate training opportunities and ensure that staff continue to develop throughout their employment.

Claire Alexander, for example, is learning and development director for student accommodation provider the Unite Group.

Having joined the company a matter of weeks ago, Alexander is, in her own words, “still getting to know the business”.

“The role of learning and development director spans the entire talent agenda,” she says. “It involves looking at the business and deciding how we retain and develop our own people and their careers. I work with our business leaders and am closely aligned to human resources.”

Learning and development professionals have a key role in change management, and in her new role, Alexander will be examining precisely where the Unite Group needs to do to move forward.

“I’m looking at how I can assist in shaping the organisation through the auspices of a carefully thought-out strategy, as well as looking at how we can continue to provide our people with challenging and rewarding careers.”

“Day-to-day,” says Alexander, “it’s all about joined up thinking. Learning and development must be aligned with the organisation’s strategic aims. Improving our people agenda is paramount to remaining competitive. I have to decide where we need to invest in our leadership and development function to drive the best return for our business.”

Alexander began her career in IT, but mid-career made the transition to learning and development, working at first in leadership development and talent management. She reports directly to Unite’s HR director, who sits on the leadership board.

“It’s a hugely challenging and rewarding career,” she says.

Salary expectations: £55,000-£100,000 (Hays Human Resources)

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