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Learning at Work Week with The Skills Network

Details: Written by Kate Hutchinson |

Here at The Skills Network, people are our superpower!

Our first instalment of the ‘Introducing…’ series with Deputy Head of Business Development- Jack McDougall, was so popular, that we’ve decided to keep a good thing going! This week marks the start of ‘Learning at Work Week’ and who better to shine the staff spotlight on next than our very own Learning and Development wizz- Scott Pearson. Keep reading to learn what progression means according to Scott, as well as a whole host of important stuff, like which Hogwarts house he belongs to.

Now that we’ve got your attention, over to you Scott…..

Hi, I’m Scott and despite being a Learning and Development professional (which means talking a fair bit as part of my role), this isn’t in my comfort zone.

Ironically being in Learning and Development is all about encouraging and supporting people out of their comfort zone, to help them gain more skills and knowledge, but also to hopefully see the benefits in doing something different.

I’ve been in learning and talent management let’s just say a few years and the main thrust of the role has always been development and progression. Development of an individual, development of teams and organisational development. Having worked in and with a few companies both small and large, it’s fair to say that development is a constant requirement.

If a company demonstrates a healthy approach to internal staff training, others will want to work here. In the case of The Skills Network, it shows that we believe in training and our customers (current and future) see that we trust in learning as a product.

a flower growing and getting progressively bigger and stronger

In the last 10 years, there has been an increased desire for “career growth and development opportunities” to be part of a prospective or current employers’ strategy. The younger generations are more active and vocal in seeking opportunities to develop.

Progression isn’t just about moving up though, it's also much about improving your breadth of knowledge. Training can improve your skills and understanding, and when you feel like you’re doing a good job and getting recognised for it, it improves your morale and self-worth. Often, someone who has learnt and embraced something new wants to then share the knowledge with others, this can be a colleague or friends and family.

Progression is influenced by many factors, but being comfortable with change is probably the most consistent element.

Creating a culture for development helps people cope and adapt to change. That’s good for someone’s personal and professional life.

The more someone is learning and moving out of their comfort zone, the more comfortable they become with it.

a lioness proudly roaring and displaying courage

Changing something takes a bit of courage, you’re essentially moving away from what you know and what you are at ease with. Doing this voluntarily to progress means you are more likely to be successful. You go into it with your eyes wide open and have a plan. You can remind yourself of the end goal that you want to achieve.

It’s also a common misconception that progress must be large and meaningful.

The best progression tends to be in small but consistent steps. This way you adapt and get used to the change and it’s more likely to become your new normal.

3 colleagues stood together supporting each other

Last but by no means least, good progression is having a support network.

Friends and family can support you along the way but in a work context, having a supportive manager can be a big factor in progression- especially career-wise. The biggest compliment for me is when colleagues from jobs long since gone, not only remain in contact but seek out and trust my advice.

One thing I do say to anyone though is failure is part of progress, you will stumble along the way, that’s where your support network can really help and focus on progression not perfection, striving for the latter is aiming for the unreachable.

One of my favourite quotes is from Charles Darwin, who sums up the connection between progression and change so well, why would you try to better it?

quote by charles darwin-  “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”. quick fire question time

Keep being awesome Scott!

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