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The working life of a training and development manager

Author: Justine Riches
09 March 2018

Justine Riches is the Training and Development Manager at St Ann’s Hospice in Greater Manchester. Here she tells us about the satisfaction she gets from helping to develop the skills of the workforce.

The days when training was focussed solely around a one-off, expensive face-to-face course based on acquiring a new practical skill are long gone.  Development for employees today is much, much broader than that.

Hospices recognise that patients are individuals who have their own personal goals, aspirations and preferences, and we should always be aware that our staff are all different too.  We should celebrate the fact that everyone has their own career aspirations – some wish to progress through an organisation, others are happy with their position, but want to continue to learn new skills to ensure they do not remain static.  An organisation needs a broad mix of people who sit at different levels and with different aspirations, and we should never lose sight of that mix, to ensure we are meeting everyone’s needs.  It is essential we do so, to ensure we can continue to provide world class care.

With the world we operate within constantly changing, it is important not to lose sight of that goal.  For example, even if hospices, as charities, cannot always afford to create new roles or offer promotion opportunities to an individual, there are other ways to equip them with the tools they need to progress and develop.

I have been at the hospice for almost four years now, having previously worked in training and development at organisations such as United Utilities and also in a self-employed capacity.  When I came to St Ann’s I was really excited to bring my skills and experience to a third sector organisation, especially one of the size of St Ann’s, and it is great to have been able to see the impact of my work on the hospice workforce.

Whilst here I have developed two leadership and management development programmes – one for current hospice leaders (Inspire), the other for those aspiring to take the next step to a management position (Aspire).  I have also been delivering some values-based modules based on these programmes to the wider hospice workforce under our ‘Together’ branding, and it has been a great way to showcase how all staff are going in the same direction, for the same ultimate goal.  The programmes are focussed around softer skills, such as understanding other people’s working styles, thinking about the impact the mood or behaviour of an individual would have on others, and creating a more communicative environment all round.

We have also changed the way we run our annual appraisals, and I have spent a lot of time working on a new process which empowers individuals and is heavily focussed on our hospice values and purpose.  Part of this process is for staff and managers to talk openly about their aspirations, and to ascertain ways to ensure further professional development.  Whether that is something as straightforward as regularly reading a trade journal or website relevant to their field, or something more complicated such as leading on a forthcoming project, developing a new process, or job shadowing a colleague, we encourage a broad range of opportunities to come out of those conversations.  The appraisal form should not be a document completed once a year and left in a drawer for the next twelve months either.  We encourage individuals to treat it as a live document and raise and identify opportunities as they come up.

I love that staff are generally eager to learn and demanding in their training requirements, much more today than they have ever been I think.  No two days are ever the same and there are still challenges of course, but these often bring opportunities too.  For example, not everyone is confident when using IT, but it was really encouraging to see people still embrace a new e-learning system we brought into action three years ago.  Our mandatory training is primarily carried out in that way now, and staff have gained confidence when using the system year on year.

The ethos of what I do here at St Ann’s is focussed on giving employees the tools they need to develop themselves and to learn new skills.  There is nothing more satisfying than seeing people putting those skills into action as they progress in their role or through the organisation. Just as importantly, I also know that our patients benefit too.  That, for me, is the best part of what I do, and why I get so much satisfaction from it.

For more information visit St Ann’s Hospice

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Comments | 1

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Lynna Chandra

This is such an excellent example of what development of our key resource (people & talent) can be! Thank you for sharing this invaluable experience with us all. We, at Rachel House in Indonesia would love to have the opportunity for guidance from Justine Riches, if possible. Many grateful thanks in advance.

10/03/2018 03:17:11


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