Ambitious for your future? Wondering how to strengthen your CV? Well perhaps Amanda Warman’s Skills Bootcamps experience will give you the inspiration you need to succeed in 2023.
Amanda is a Project Manager with AF Affinity, part of the AF Group, at Honingham Thorpe in Norfolk. She supports the group’s non-farming members, both businesses and households, particularly with their syndicated fuel buying schemes. She has always been keen on self-development and building her skills.
Back in 2020, just before lockdown, she completed the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Level 3 course in Essential Leadership and Management. “I was a team leader at the time and this course really helped me improve the way I did my job. I then took maternity leave in 2021 but was really eager to carry on learning and developing my managerial capabilities once I returned to work in April 2022.
“I was especially keen to find out more about developing long term business strategies for growth. That’s because it’s particularly relevant to the AF Group, which operates in fast moving and competitive markets. I had used Turning Factor in Norwich for my Level 3 ILM course, so asked them what the next step would be.
“At first, they did not have any suitable dates. However, they emailed me in September to say their ILM Accredited Level 5 “Rainmaker” course in Leadership and Management was now available through the Government’s Skills Bootcamps. The benefit of these is that thanks to Department of Education funding, through New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), your employer only pays 10% of the usual cost.”
Condensed training for busy people
As Graeme Lisle, Senior Tutor at Turning Factor, explains, the Rainmaker programme is for managers who want to strengthen their leadership capabilities and improve both themselves and their business. “It takes quite a lot of self-reflection and group-reflection, but the insights you gain can really help you unlock your leadership potential. It’s a practical course that gives you tools you can start using immediately in your job.”
The course normally runs over six months, but Turning Factor has accelerated this to 16 weeks for the Skills Bootcamps while covering the same detail. That means people starting now could complete their course around Easter. It includes five full programme days (09:00-16:30), which learners join remotely using Zoom.
“Remote learning is ideal for many busy people across Norfolk and Suffolk as it makes the Skills Bootcamps more accessible,” says Graeme. “We use the online breakout rooms during the day to divide the group into working teams where they can discuss what they have learnt and respond to the challenges we set them. In between the programme days they have individual assignments to complete and ideas to apply at work.”
Key topics covered by Rainmaker course:
• Leadership role and responsibilities
• Planning, leading, and sustaining change and innovation
• Vision, mission and values
• Identifying and improving efficiency and effectiveness
• Growing your business – driving strategy through people, not process.
As Graeme points out, these are fully transferable skills that you can apply in practically any role. “We cover communications and other leadership tools to help you succeed whenever you take responsibility for others. Interestingly, despite the need for such training across business, we appear to be the only organisation in the UK providing this course as one of the Skill Bootcamps – which is great for our region.”
“What I enjoy about running this course,” says Graeme, “is seeing people from all walks of life coming together to discover they all share common experiences and challenges as managers, no matter what their industry. It’s also exciting to see people who are new to management working alongside experienced business leaders, some with 30+ years’ experience, and seeing them learning from each other. For some people it’s a bit like taking refresher driving lessons to iron out bad habits and to see familiar things anew.”
Change is the main theme
“It’s hard work if you want to earn the certificate,” admits Amanda, “but it’s really stimulating and worthwhile. The assignments can take up quite a bit of time, particularly if you get into them as I do. I am completing them alongside the course, adding information after each programme day so I can really apply what I have learnt in my job.”
Graeme is Amanda’s tutor. “You can tell he really knows his stuff because he’s not reading from a slide show or text book,” she says. “He also encourages all of us to speak and share our experiences, which means you get to learn so much from other participants. You analyse how you do things normally, how you could do them differently – better – and even how well your own managers have performed in the past.
“Working on motivational maps is particularly interesting. You get to understand your own motivations but you also get some insight into the motivations of your colleagues. That can help you build teams of people with complementary skills and attitudes, which helps increase productivity and job satisfaction by having the right people working to the best of their abilities.”
Amanda is looking forward to applying her new found skills and knowledge to projects in 2023. “It’s vital to apply what you have learnt if you want to improve your career prospects. And you do learn a lot, which is why I’d encourage individuals and businesses to take advantage of these subsidised Skills Bootcamps.
“Individuals learn to maximise their talents and gain confidence to tackle bigger projects, which increases their morale and self-respect. Businesses benefit from more motivated employees with a better understanding of business, which can strengthen teams and the organisation. Overall,” Amanda concludes, “it is an excellent experience and a great opportunity for people and businesses in Suffolk and Norfolk.”