What does a Learning and Development professional actually do?

Hi I'm Tom, and I'm currently on the Human Resources stream of the Summer Placement in the Learning and Development (L&D) team.

Wherever you are in HR, there is only one thing that you need to have a passion for – people. Whether you’re dealing with grievance cases, recruitment phases or coaching sessions, you need to be able to connect with people and understand what makes them tick. The fantastic thing about a career in HR is that everyone, from no matter what background or degree, could be suitable for a role in the stream. So if you love supporting people and making them love their job more, you should consider it.

So a bit more about my role - L&D nurture and coach people to be their best. We serve all 2000 employees in Centrica Energy; from Day One with our new employees’ training, right up to producing the managers of tomorrow. We have specialised management training courses which not only prepare people to be inspirational leaders but equally ensure teams are working successfully together. Alongside this, the team run an extensive range of optional courses which employees can express an interest in. Need to polish up your presentation skills or influence a stakeholder? We are the team that can help.

During my time, I’ve assisted the running of development days across the business, including the Finance team’s one, where members of our team spoke about performing at your best and achieving your career aspirations. As part of this, I set up a stall showcasing the resources that are on offer to our people. The great thing about this is job for me is that no two days are ever the same. The range of options we offer, and the fact that Centrica Energy is international, means that adjusting and adapting my approach for every occasion is essential.

This was particularly true when I was given an exciting project to find new innovative ways to offer learning to our employees at zero cost. I took the topic of performance reviews and turned a 2hour training session into a 10-minute e-learning module. I even had to record the narration for it! Cultural considerations and language choice were essential to ensure it was well received across the business. Moreover, being part of the L&D team has allowed me to head out of the office to do something a bit different. Recently I went into local schools and taught students about working as a team. How did I do this? I got them to build toy cars, of course! Creativity and originality are always great skills to bring to this team.

K’nex is not just for building, it is also fantastic to teach team-working skills!

I hope that has given you an insight into the world of Learning and Development. I’m coming to the end of my placement now and I can honestly say it has been my most enriching experience to date. With exposure to people across the business, including those based in Canada, Norway and The Netherlands, I’ve very quickly developed as a person and gained the crucial skills I need to network and to collaborate with others.