This week, the Northern Powerhouse is celebrating the efforts made by businesses across the region to upskill employees. Here, Amanda Harvey, head of bulk terminal operations (Mersey) shares her views on ‘in the job training’ with Peel Ports Group.
When I interviewed for the job with Peel Ports, one of the questions I had prepared was around training and what I could expect as part of the ‘on-boarding’ process. I was sceptical at first because I have had training promises in the past but sadly the reality didn’t always match up. But I am pleased to say that my experience here has been a positive one.
The interviewer I met with explained that Peel Ports Group had partnered with Dale Carnegie Training to create and deliver a new Leadership Transformation Programme which is a highly participative plan designed to help Peel Ports leaders to inspire and motivate those around them.
I have had leadership training before, so I thought I knew what to expect, but this time it was different and that was really refreshing. The programme allowed me to have an open and honest conversation about personal goals and objectives before starting ‘on the tools’ so to speak.
The paperwork was straightforward. The document featured a comprehensive list of skills that were relevant to my role. All I had to do was click on the boxes where I felt that I needed to make progress. Going through this process got me thinking about the connotations associated with the phrase ‘skills development’ and the fact that they have changed a lot even in the last decade.
I remember a time when admitting that you needed support on something was viewed as a weakness. It’s bizarre to think that that was the norm, but thankfully we’re miles away from that now. Inquisitiveness is celebrated and people are now commended for spotting skills gaps.
I don’t recall attending a course which has focused on covering such a cross-functional level of management in one training programme. My team understand my adapting style of behaviour as they are participating on the same programme. We are able to review these new styles together and form new ways of working with each other and with our peers. It is reassuring to know that my line manager is also attending the course, as this gives me confidence that he too is on the programme, which means we are all receiving consistent advice and guidance.
This outcome based approach to skills development is crucial to a sustainable business model in my view. And the fact that Peel Ports is implementing this type of leadership training now will stand the business in good stead when it comes to attracting new talent to its growing workforce in years to come.
The Northern Powerhouse outlined in its strategy that a highly skilled and educated workforce is critical to economic growth and productivity. Attracting high quality teachers who adopt value based learning models will of course improve outcomes for children across the region’s schools.
Similarly, the Government’s reforms to improving skills provision to allow local businesses like ours to influence and shape skills offerings to meet the local labour market is crucial.
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