The Learning and Skills Development Agency Case Study

The Organisation:

LSDA NI is at the forefront of education and training in Northern Ireland and has established a reputation for excellence in supporting learning and skills.

The LSDA NI’s programmes are designed to support individuals and organisations, and their services and solution focused products are supplied directly to colleges, training organisations, schools and other public and private bodies.

LSDA NI provides research and development, training, consultancy and technology services to help thier customers embrace new challenges and enable managers and practitioners to meet standards of excellence in their work.

The Context:

LSDA NI was seeking to develop a group of work based learning providers, who were working closely with employers to facilitate the long term unemployed returning to work. These providers were working in difficult economic climate – the recession had led to fewer vacant posts available for their clients, and therefore decreasing the likelihood of employers being open to discussions around employing the long term unemployed.

The Development Need:

The LSDA NI was looking to help the work based learning providers to improve their sales and marketing skills, so that they would be able to engage employers in different and more effective ways. Also to develop their influencing skills, to create more opportunities for employment from the pool of employers.

In order to do this, the work based learning providers needed to be more strategic in their conversations with employers, to adjust their approach, and to adopt a “quality not quantity” mindset to discussions and negotiations.

Working with Positive Change Partners:

When choosing a training provider for this project, LSDA NI knew they needed an experienced trainer of sales skills, as well as a provider who was cost effective and flexible.

On engaging Simon Ford, of Positive Change Partners, LSDA NI found Simon to have “a good understanding of what was needed, he was reactive and fully engaged in the design and planning of the sessions”. During the training sessions worked in tandem with Nicola Reilly, Development Advisor, from the LSDA NI, and Nicola found Simon to be “excellent, very calm and responsive – Simon is very grounded in himself, confident in his own understanding of the subject, and this gave me confidence.”

LSDA NI also found that the back-up support provided by the Positive Change Partners administrative team was invaluable, and equally as vital as the training. The PCP admin team ensured that the course materials, and the training design, were fit for purpose, and they also had the flexibility to change and adjust materials as necessary.

The Results:

In order for the training to be logistically and financially effective, it was delivered in consecutive and long days. The delegates found the training “intense and full on”, which was considered a good thing from the organisation’s perspective.  Proactive action plans were created at the end of the sessions, which has resulted in changes in attitudes, skills and behaviour, and ensured that the training has had strategic and operational benefits.