How did you start your career in employee learning and development?
After completing my A-Levels, I began a youth training scheme (similar to an apprenticeship) at Lloyds British. I then started a placement at RBS as a sales support employee, and I worked there for eight years. I progressed from there to a telephone operative at Zurich and then gradually to training manager. After 16 years of working within the finance industry, I moved on to the engineering industry, working as a training manager within Wellstream. From there I began working at Fabricom, and finally, my current position within British Engines.
How did you get into engineering?
I was told about a position at Wellstream and I thought it sounded interesting. It was different to what I was used to but I decided to give the interview a go anyway, what harm could it do? The finance industry was very ‘same job, different day’, providing a service to customers. The engineering industry I find very exciting, it’s fast paced and forever changing meaning we keep up but be one step ahead. I like that I get to see the process our products go through; from design and development right at the beginning to installation at the customer’s end.
What do you do as a Group Learning and Development Manager?
As the Group Learning and Development Manager, I aim to encourage all of our employees to be the best they can, whether they are an apprentice, a graduate or a professional. I help to raise awareness of the business and the different job prospects available in engineering. Many people outside the industry still see manufacturing as a dirty, oily job when in fact manufacturing uses state of the art technology and we are constantly evolving and innovating to ensure we are ahead of the game.
Currently, we have 77 apprentices and we have recruited an additional 14 to start in June this year, alongside the apprenticeship scheme, we also run a graduate scheme and this year will be welcoming another three graduates into the business. We also provide training to our employees for example we encourage our engineers to work towards achieving their CEng status or completing a degree where appropriate. This is extremely beneficial to us as a business but also to our employees, we cover all costs of the additional courses in order for them to achieve their full potential.
As well as all the personal development of our employees we have to provide the training that is needed in order to keep the business running smoothly day to day. This includes health and safety courses such as first aid, fork lift operations, lifting and slinging as well as other business related courses such as cultural awareness, management development and HR awareness amongst others. These all provide our employees with much needed skills to run our business efficiently.
Why does British Engines have such a focus on learning and development?
Nothing stands still within this industry, and so we cannot stand still either. We need to move with the requirements of the industry; developing our employees helps us to achieve this. Not only does it keep the business up to date, but it keeps our employees challenged and encourages loyalty within the business. We grow our own talent by investing in our staff which means we have the right people to do the right jobs within the business.