Designs on the skills base

What does your role involve?

Managing the training function for the company. This covers the design, delivery and evaluation of courses ranging from the shop floor to management development. My overall responsibility is to ensure that learning and development is on offer for all staff, no matter what level they are at.

Which of your qualifications do you most value?

My post-graduate diploma in human resource management means a lot to me, along with my swimming badge for 50 meters. I got it in 1984, and it is still sewn on to my trunks.

What do you think will be the core skills for your job in the future?

Coaching skills, facilitation, and communication skills in change management. I believe that commercial awareness to identify key drivers and implement relevant and realistic workable solutions and interventions will also be key.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing the training profession?

Every professional has to convince management that there may be an immediate return on investment when delivering procedural training, but perhaps not when delivering softer behavioural training. Thankfully, senior management here at GlynWebb have always supported any of our proposed training initiatives.

How do you demonstrate return on investment from training interventions?

It is very difficult to relate the success of a course to a percentage increase in sales. We focus more on the results of the area managers’ quarterly visits and other audits that take place. We also use internal promotion and staff turnover as a tool for measurement.

How do you think your job will have changed in five years’ time?

GlynWebb’s vision is to expand, and I see my role evolving with this. I hope to have a larger training team that will be able to support the training delivery at our stores. I would like to play a more strategic role within the business and prove that the training department can make a difference.

What is your current major training project?

We have focused on our supervisors at store level, and we launched a supervisor diploma last month. This six-month programme is aimed at giving supervisors the necessary skills to take the next step up from supervisor to assistant manager. The programme will evolve over the next 12 months to include assistant manager and manager programmes.

What is the best thing about the job?

I enjoy watching staff develop and seeing them grow in confidence over a period of time. It is also rewarding to see them gain promotion as a result of programmes developed by the training department.

Can you remember the worst training course you ever attended?

An empowerment course that I attended about seven years ago. It was too overpowering. It would have gone down well in the US, but not in Preston! I have never felt so uncomfortable in my entire life.

How do you get the best from people?

I am enthusiastic about what I do, and I feel that this rubs off on people.

Constructive feedback and motivation are the key to getting the best out of people. I also feel that allowing staff to make decisions is very important.

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