Careerfile: Oiling the wheels of credit and debt collection

Gillian Forrest works at the sharp end of training management, helping develop and run courses for the credit and debt collection companies. She airs her views on training issues.

What does your job involve?

Running all the training services, from a strategic planning point of view all the way to organising and delivering the courses.

What types of courses/events do you organise?

Anything that is relevant to the credit industry. For example, we run our City and Guilds Diploma course for the debt collection industry. We also have a portfolio of courses that are available in-house to members and non-members, and they can be tailored to meet specific requirements.

Why did you get into training?

I enjoy the challenge of developing people. I also see training as a vocation that can inspire individuals and companies to prosper.

What course/programme are you working on now?

Organising a forthcoming diploma course and planning a marketing campaign for the in-house training we provide.

What’s the best training event you’ve attended?

It was on workforce development at a factory, where basic social exclusion skills and attitudes were a major factor. The training staff delivered a session that captivated the audience and eventually saw a huge rise in productivity.

What makes for a poor course?

One that does not involve or engage the audience.

How do you measure the impact of the training you deliver/organise?

I involve people at all relevant levels of an organisation, pre- and post-delivery. I do this to ensure we have the correct training objectives and to measure changes and improvements, post-training, against them. You should see improvements regardless of what training is delivered, and observing them is the only way toget a true picture.

What qualities and skills should an effective training manager have?

An alternative approach to problem solving. Often training is deemed as a solution to a problem. But forward-thinking training managers can identify the problem before it happens. I use a system called FMEA (Failure Modes Effective Analysis). This is a systematic method of identifying potential design or process weaknesses. Being able to find a way of implementing training without having a negative effect on productivity is the most crucial balancing act there is.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

On a beach with sangria, counting my lottery win…

What did you want to be when you were young?

A vet.

What’s your biggest bugbear?

Bad drivers.

What advice would you give to someone setting out on a career in training?

Be aware of strategies, not just those of your own organisation, but those of others. Also be aware of the government’s agenda. Read as many Green and White Papers as you can, and identify the relevance to your own organisation.

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Ginger Rogers.

Gillian Forrest is head of training at the Credit Services Association (CSA)

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