Careerfile: Gillian Ince, head of training and resourcing, Claire’s Accessories UK

Little did Gillian Ince know that when she prepared and delivered a presentation as a delegate it would lead to a career in L&D. She talks about that and the challenges she deals with at Claire’s Accessories.

What does your job involve?

My role covers L&D and resourcing. I provide effective solutions across these two functions for 500 Claire’s retail stores, plus its head office and distribution centre. I also assist our European teams with their L&D.

How many courses/events do you organise?

For 2008 we have about 72 workshops planned, which will be delivered in-house by the team. Most of these support the development of our head office functions, along with our district sales managers and selected store managers who are on our management development course, or ‘journey’ as we call it.

Which is the most challenging?

I would say our leadership programme – we gather 360-degree feedback, and getting the questionnaires back is an absolute nightmare.

What course/training are you working on now?

I’m about to start on a development programme specific to our buying and merchandising functions. As part of this, we have administered a battery of assessment tools to identify each individual’s development needs across a variety of tests. The overall outcomes will give us the foundation for the programme.

How and why did you get into training?

I went on my first management course, and as part of the objectives, I had to design and deliver a presentation around a specific topic. I stayed up until the early hours preparing and the day I delivered the presentation. It led me to believe I had found my true calling. A secondment into training then transpired and I applied. And here I am today.

What’s the best or most memorable training event you’ve attended?

Attending four workshops over five months to obtain my NLP practitioner qualification. The experiences I went through had huge effects on me as a person. My viewpoints on life and people were greatly affected. The great advantage overall is that I’ve not stopped using what I learnt back then.

And the worst

An external workshop on Excel. The person who took the group was a real ‘techie’. Boring, boring, boring, with a sense of humour only he laughed at.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I would like to believe I’m still indulging in my life’s desire to support people’s growth and development through life, whether that’s in work or not.

When you were younger, what did you want to be?

To become a swimming instructor. I lived and breathed swimming as a sport and leisure activity from a very early age.

What, in life generally, really annoys you?

Dialling into a call centre, where an automated message instructs you to press a series of buttons and you get nowhere.

What was the first record you bought?

I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing by the New Seekers.

What book are you reading?

The Life Coaching Handbook by Curly Martin.

Who’s your hero?

Ken Blanchard. I admire his simplistic spin on management and leadership theories and techniques – they make sense and are so easy to put into practise.

What’s the best piece of training/L&D advice you’ve been given?

Keep it simple

How do you relax?

Taking holidays in the sun every three or four months.

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