Belief in Self at DEVRO

Out of the blue, Ray at RBS Training has asked if I can help facilitate a programme for a client, where the timeframe is tight and there is a need to get started as quickly as possible. This gives me an opportunity to work with a team of charge hands at DEVRO Moodiesburn and Bellshill. A new client for me, who is keen to support key people in their organisation through the Institute of Leadership and Management’s (Level 2) Award in Leadership and Team Skills. My favourite ILM programme, aimed at helping people, new to a leadership role or without any formal development to grow their skills and confidence in making it happen at work!

Off to Moodiesburn to meet Gary and Mark, to scope out the content, style and approach and to agree the dates and schedule. Kick off agreed for May 2013. In advance of the opening day, I travel to Bellshill to meet the charge hands and to help facilitate an introduction to the programme. During the meeting we discuss the content and schedule and unsurprisingly the most important focus is on the assessment element. I can see that some of the guys are nervous and apprehensive about the assessment. “How will it be managed?” “What is expected of us?” “What if we don’t pass?” I explain how the assessment will be completed and reassure the team that if I fulfil my role and they are willing to invest time and effort in completing their assessment work, they will be able to secure certification for the Award. I can sense that not everyone is convinced!

We get started on Monday 27th May 2013, with a workshop on “Leading Your Work Team”. The charge hands are a little cautious at first which is understandable but gradually they all start to get into the programme and learning. However, there is still a cloud hanging over some of the team about the assessment. “I’m not sure I can do this!” “I haven’t done this type of thing for some time!” “I can’t type!” “We will struggle to get this done on time!” It appears to me that some of the charge hands lack belief in themselves to get through the assessment.

We spend time during the first day, working through the assignment and discussing how the charge hands might be able to get things done. I explain how they can draft work and how we might be able to use “tutorial guidance” to help in an ethical and professional way. I challenge the team to support each other without breaching ILM’s Cheating and Plagiarism Policies and we agree a time frame for submission of the first piece of work. James works hard on behalf of the team to secure time to submit each assignment.

And the programme continues throughout May and June 2013, with workshops on “Developing Yourself as a Team Leader”, “Improving the Performance of the Work Team” and “Developing the Work Team”. The charge hands bring a great deal of enthusiasm and energy to the workshops and the craic is fantastic. It is a joy to have an opportunity to work with people who are genuinely interested in learning and in making such a positive contribution at work. Indeed, beyond the training room, almost everyone you meet at DEVRO Bellshill, in the corridors, offices and canteen, will not only acknowledge your presence, but with a happy smile and eye contact, will make you feel warmly welcomed.

The assessment work starts to arrive at the OTTC office. Although “Short Answer Questions” have been selected for each unit rather than “Assignments”, the responses are anything other than short. The quality of work at this level (Level 2) is fantastic! Focused, detailed and engaging responses, which incorporate not only the theory and text book references but also make excellent links back to reality and work. In many instances the presentation of work is exceptional, although everyone is aware that there are no additional marks for presentation! However, the commitment, enthusiasm and willingness to invest time and effort in getting the assessment work completed is clearly evident.

Big Al is first to submit within an extraordinary short period of time. Unbelievable! An avalanche of work starts to arrive and it is a challenge not to get buried under the wonderful responses submitted by each member of the team. Les, Graeme, Iain, Kevin, James, Allan, Sean, Sam, Grant and Darrell are assessment heroes! I believe!

The response of the assessor during the summer confirms our views. Indeed, at OTTC we think that the majority of work submitted does not only meet the standard required at Level 2 but is well on the way to being suitable for submission against a Level 3 programme. All ten charge hands successfully complete the four pieces of assessment work within the agreed time frame, something that does not usually happen! Congratulations!

Friday 6th September 2013, and it’s the presentation of certificates. Before then, it’s more learning on “working with change at DEVRO”. Jenga and change; the pros and cons of change; The Change Curve; Recipe for Change (Rick Stein); supporting people through change; and Egg Ships! Fantastic! A bite of lunch and Hugh explores change at DEVRO and congratulates the team!

What have I learned?

Finally, there were many highlights for me during the programme including the reference to Nokia; vegetarian breakfasts; tough negotiations around assessment submission; bending the rules during Egg Ships; competitive spirits; responsibility for PPE, or not; Lego Towers; FISH!; great craic and banter; Celtic FC (although the assessor never knew!); excellent service from the catering department; and outstanding team work and leadership!

Congratulations once again!