Career File: Fiona Triller

page where readers expose their careers

month, Fiona Triller, 39, staff development manager at Leeds Metropolitan
University, reveals the philosophy that has helped her to gain a high profile
in IIP for her organisation

long have you been in this job? 
In this post, six years.    

long have you been with your organisation?
Nearly nine years.    

does your role involve?
Planning, developing, delivering training and development for all staff in
LMU, which total 2,500. I also participate in various strategic higher
education forums, explore accreditation opportunities and prepare for audit.

the best thing about your job?
There are two – the element of self-management and that I can initiate a
lot of training and development activity. The worst is when I think something
is a good idea but it has to be developed into a paper to go to committees and
eventually goes nowhere.

is your current major project or strategic push?
We have just successfully completed our IIP re-assessment – we remain the
largest University in England and Wales to have whole university recognition. I
am also looking at several audits and developing management competencies.

terminology: training, development, education, learning?
All except “performance improvement”.

loathed buzzwords?
Most of them, but especially “green field sites” and any references to

you good at self-development?
Pass! Seriously though, I do have a five-year plan for myself. And recently
I attended a conference for staff in HE with similar roles to myself.

do you want to be in five years’ time?
I want to be in a role that I don’t think exists yet – a mix of diversity,
community work, lifelong learning… I’m writing the job description, but I just
need to find an organisation that wants it and me.    

was the most useful course you ever went on or learning experience you ever
A pilot teamworking programme which went beyond the usual role
identification and ideal team stuff to look at what happens if the team or part
of the team fails. Excellent!

did you want to do for a living when you were at school?
I wanted to be a journalist.

was your first job? 
Graduate trainee with Bass hotel division.

of your qualifications do you most value and why?    
My first degree from Edinburgh – I really didn’t want to go to university
because I wanted to work on the local paper, but a degree really does open
doors. It’s one reason why we are promoting our Return to Learn programme with
facilities management staff.

was the best career decision you ever made?
An accidental one, really. I was made redundant and then got involved in a
European-funded project on women returners.

was the worst career decision you ever made?   

All have been good in different ways.   

– holy grail or impossible dream?
Universities do lots of evaluation (as do many organisations). Evaluation
is as much about what you do with the information as the information itself.

do you think your job will have changed in five years’ time?
Less emphasis on programmes and more CPD.

do you think the core skills for your job will be in the future?
Influencing, negotiating, writing bids for external funding…

advice would you give to someone starting out in training and development?
Whatever company you join, do a stint on the shopfloor, or its equivalent.
You can’t develop appropriate training if you don’t understand the roles and
responsibilities of the staff who work in the organisation. Or work in hotel
management for a while – that gives a good all round experience of management.

you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
On a good day, this one – on a bad day, any job with Richard Branson.

you take your work home with you?  

is your motto?
Tomorrow is another day.    

your management style in three words or less.
Work hard, play hard, don’t waffle.

would you like to be remembered by your colleagues?    
She got things done.

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