The Learning and Development Projects Manager of Impellus Ltd., an ILM-Approved Training Centre, talks through a typical week. Sandra’s role encompasses two aspects of the business – she has responsibility for delivering training two days of the week and for managing our key accounts. Sandra optimises her skills and expertise in retail, sales and marketing with blue chip organisations to bring the theory alive and engage with delegates in the training room, and to her client meetings to ensure Impellus is delivering the best service and to understand more fully our clients’ training needs.
My week always gets off to a lively start at our St. Albans head office. Firstly, I meet with the rest of the Training Delivery team to review the previous week’s courses and feed back to Danny, our Training
Co-ordinator, on how the venues performed. While we are all evaluating the courses, I take the opportunity, with my client development ‘hat’ on, to gather insight on client organisations to assess how I may best be able to start a conversation to ensure we are satisfying all their requirements and whether there are additional products and services that may be of interest to them.
Then I have an account management catch-up with my colleagues in the Customer Relationship and Marketing teams to review short- and long-term objectives. I update them on the meetings and conversations I had with clients the week before, we discuss opportunities that have arisen since our last meeting and plan the face-to-face meetings and telephone calls scheduled for the week ahead.
The other Learning and Development managers and I prepare for the week ahead and pack up our cars with course materials.
I worked from home in the morning on final preparation for the week’s courses and a client meeting scheduled for later in the day.
Around lunchtime I set off for Maidstone where I meet with a client. We have trained two of their managers already – my contact is new to the organisation and is keen to find out more about Impellus. During our meeting, I assess the impact our courses are already having with their managers, introduce Impellus Ltd., showcase the expertise within our Training Delivery team, explain the benefits of open courses versus in-house training and highlight the advantages of the Impellus’ Business Centre (our secure client information portal), which would provide her with an overview of her whole organisation’s training activity. The client organisation has used another training provider in the past and has considerable development plans for its employees, so we discuss ways we could partner in the future.
I drive to our Maidstone venue, the Marriott Tudor Park, where I check in and ensure they are expecting us for tomorrow’s event.
Then, it’s a quick change into my jogging gear and I go for a run around the beautiful grounds which helps me to keep me focused.
The alarm goes off at 6.00 am to ensure I’m in the training room by 7.30 am. I fine tune the room’s dynamics to Impellus’ standards and set up and test all the equipment – we like our clients to be comfortable. I also meet the Conference and Banqueting team to discuss timings, restaurant layout for lunch, fire tests and evacuation routes plus any known traffic delays that may affect the delegates.
From 8.30 am I’m in the registration area greeting the delegates, gently establishing what has motivated them to attend and trying to get a feel for their organisation’s current trading environment, as well as ensuring they have refreshments. Some of the delegates I have met before, so it is always good to renew acquaintances.
Between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm I deliver our most popular course, Leadership Skills Development, to managers across a variety of industries such as hospitality, recruitment, retail, media and publishing. During the breaks and over lunch, there are lively conversations taking place, as delegates share everyday challenges.
After the course has finished, I pack up, clear the room and head off home – I arrive just in time for a spinning class at my local gym.
As I leave home at 5.55 am to catch the bus and tube into London, I contemplate that today is likely to be somewhat of a ‘bitter sweet’ day.
Today’s course is at the Kingsley Thistle hotel in Holborn, which is the first venue that I trained at when I joined Impellus almost three years ago. Since then, I’ve delivered training there almost weekly, so have got to know the Conference and Banqueting team quite well. But, it is the last day we will be using this venue, as we are switching to another larger venue in Holborn from September onwards.
The course is the ILM Level 3 Award ‘Effective Communication Skills’ which gives me especial enjoyment – since I completed my foundation Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner training, I have been fascinated by the whole psychology behind the art of communication.
The course runs smoothly between 9.30 am to 4.30 pm with 20 multi-cultural delegates from diverse organisations, who participate well throughout the day. Effective Communication Skills is a particularly interactive course as delegates are generally comfortable debating their thoughts on communication – I always enjoy a challenge!
After the course, I say goodbye to the Kingsley Thistle team and make my way home. I have just 25 minutes to jump on my bike and get to my Pilates session which commences at 6.45 pm.
Working from home, I make notes on our CRM system of delegates from the Wednesday and Thursday courses who would like to attend further courses and/or study the ILM Level 3 Award. This information is taken off the course evaluation and feedback forms that our delegates complete at the end of the day.
I also review these forms to ensure my delivery has met the satisfaction of our clients and to consider calls to clients next week – the number of open course multi-day booking places they have left ‘on account’ may be getting low, they may have several managers registered for the ILM Award but not yet submitted any assignments, or a delegate may have mentioned in the course that their organisation is currently experiencing rapid growth. With my focus on account management, I take a vested interest in finding out more about our client organisations and explore how we can support them further.
On the rare occasion that a course evaluation form may suggest a course has not met the delegate’s expectations, there is also an opportunity to talk to the person who booked the course to establish if their challenges/requirements are different to those of the delegate and what we can do to overcome the mismatch in expectations.
I speak to my colleagues in the Customer Relationship Team to update them on my client meeting that took place on Tuesday.
Next week we will not be running any courses – there are four weeks in August when we do not deliver open courses due to the peak holiday season – so I will be getting together with the rest of the Training Delivery team to refresh the course content. I take some time to reflect on our courses – what has worked well and if there are any areas for improvement – and jot down some notes to discuss with my colleagues. I also do a little research, as we’re thinking of enhancing our course content around the approaches to learning and development of different generations.
I also reflect on the week, which has flown by. I’ve delivered two courses in the South East to engaged delegates from a real mix of organisations who have provided positive feedback. They will return to work motivated and with practical skills to develop into good leaders. In addition, I had a productive face-to-face meeting with a client — so, all in all, a satisfying and enjoyable week.
Now it’s off for a bike ride through Richmond Park.