On October 3, the intake for the 2019/2020 AVK Leadership Programme attended their very first workshops. This Leadership Programme is an important component in the new learning strategy of AVK which will be formally launched later on this year.
The new strategy has been developed by AVK UK's Lee Foxall, Head of HR and Organisational Performance. At the workshops, Lee welcomed the 23 academy delegates to the Proact Stadium, which is also home of football team Chesterfield FC;
"The programme carries the slogan, ‘Shaping the Future’, and the curriculum covers those skill sets we believe are fundamental to successful leadership. As I said to the delegates, AVK is already ‘leading the field’. Their challenge over the coming years is to continue to do so. Consequently, at the end of the course, the delegates have to present a business improvement idea to representatives from the Group’s senior management team."
The Leadership Academy is delivered by Awbery, specialists in development or leadership, and which has worked with AVK for over ten years. According to Marry Sisson, Awbery’s Programme Director, and one of the three trainers on the courses;
"The Leadership programme has been co-created by Awbery and AVK. It is designed to facilitate collaborative learning. We were delighted with the positive response and engagement it has had during the launch day and subsequent workshops. There was a real commitment to action from everyone involved."
The programme has two intakes. A level one, that runs over seven sessions and is targeted at those new to leadership roles, and a level two which consists of four sessions and is for more established managers. Oliver Gambling, Sales Director for Water, is a Leadership Programme alumnus from '17. He believes that the skills he gained from the programme have been very beneficial for him in his new role;
‘“The programme helped me build strong relationships with my peers across the AVK Group. I had the opportunity to engage with ‘on-the-job’ learning on a range of topics including stakeholder involvement, conflict management and skills within negotiation. More in particular, it gave me the tools and the confidence to implement new ideas; it bridged the gap between management theory and real-world application".
Lee Foxall recognises the fact that many people from across the Group would benefit from the programme training, but that places are limited;
"Candidates for the course arrive via a number of different routes. Some may have been put forward by their manager; perhaps they have shown leadership potential and a desire to learn which have been picked up through the management competencies and appraisal system; there could be a strategy to reinforce leadership skills within certain business areas, etc. All potential candidate nominations are subject to a strict vetting and filtering process, and the academy programme is challenging a stretching!"
With only one exception, all the delegates from the last academy intake are still with the business. Additionally, many have stepped up into new roles. The programme is just one way in which AVK employees can develop and hone new skills; other avenues include external professional qualifications, academic programmes such as degrees and MBAs and apprentice/graduate schemes.