One of our most experienced Learning and Development managers talks about what makes his role so challenging and rewarding.
What does your average day look like?
A typical day in the Learning & Development (L&D) Centre starts in the training rooms, registering attendees and ensuring we are all safe with risk assessments and set up for the day. Following this, we are out in the workshops completing hands-on practical activities which can range from installing electric meters and gas meters to servicing and fault-finding on cookers, radiant fires, inset live fuel effect fires and tumble dryers. We also get involved in the mechanics of installing and commissioning water heaters, central heating systems and boilers.
Something that is really important to me is using a variety of training methods to make sure that every trainee or engineer who comes into the centre is fully supported with their own personal learning style.
What do you find most rewarding about the role?
Three things really, passing on 40 years of experience to the next generation of engineers and trainees has to be the first.
Secondly, we have the power to change the trainees' lives forever and the fact that they can have a career with British Gas that will set them up for life - how powerful is that!?
Lastly, meeting the trainees again when they revisit the centre, seeing how they have grown, developed and achieved more challenging roles within the company – revisiting memories and funny episodes that happened during their training periods.
What are some of the biggest challenges in the role?
One of the biggest is setting expectations. I will always have an 'ice-breaker' session with every group and this gives me the opportunity to communicate my expectations - they are now the face of Centrica. I insist on prompt time keeping and that they’re prepared for the day to keep the whole group on track and learning effectively.
I like to make sure the trainees retain information and understanding - never assume that the trainee/engineer has understood the subject you have discussed. Always go back to the simplest explanation and build on their interactions with you through questioning and open discussions.
What advice would you give anyone thinking about developing their career within L&D?
My main tips are:
- Take every opportunity you can to develop yourself.
- Complete as much as you can every day; you can never rely on having time to complete something from yesterday tomorrow.
- Enjoy every minute.
- Give 100% but expect 100% in return.