Jun 2014 / Learners

Published: cardiff-times online

A Bridgend woman whose employer’s ‘practise what you preach’ attitude to workplace training helped her map out the route from geography degree to career success is calling on local businesses to make every week Adult Learners’ Week at their own place of work.

When Rachel Ellis finished her university studies she had no idea what the journey to employment had in store, but succeeded in negotiating her way to a successful career in marketing thanks to the foresight and ongoing support of her employers at ACT Training.

Rachel, 29, now plays an integral role in the day to day running of ACT Training which, as Wales’ largest training provider, exists to promote lifelong skills development not only amongst adult learners referred to them from elsewhere, but within its own core staff too.

As such two thirds of workers directly employed by ACT are currently engaged in work-based training, while all new members of staff are required to complete mandatory training in safeguarding and other workplace disciplines too.

Rachel, a marketing officer from Bridgend, said: “When I finished my geography degree I had no idea what came next for me, but after landing an entry-level administrative role with ACT Training ended up managing a team of six administrators within the workforce there.”

“During this time I was also supported to sign up for my level 3 management qualification at the Cardiff Skills Academy, to develop my managerial skills further, and when a role became available within the marketing department I decided to go for it.”

Rachel continued: “Taking on the extra training gave me the confidence and transferable skills to move into an area I had always been interested in, and I’ve found that the training has continued to benefit me in terms of managing time and workload in my current role too.”

“I can’t explain how much adult learning has helped me progress within a field of work I had very little knowledge of before coming to ACT, and how important Adult Learners’ Week is to me, therefore – I never want to stop learning.”

At ACT, encouraging ongoing development amongst its own workforce not only helps give employees greater job satisfaction internally, but also enables staff there to empathise more deeply with the adult learners they work to assist too.

ACT Training’s Managing Director Andrew Cooksley said: “We help a great deal of businesses actively invest in the skills of their workforce and support a number of adult learners to develop professionally on an individual basis too.

“Such skills development has become increasingly relevant of late as the UK economy looks set to strengthen further, and employers look towards their workforce to help them make the most of the economic upturn.”

Andrew continued: “Events like Adult Learners’ Week are vital in reminding us all that a lifelong approach to learning should be commonplace in every workplace – and not just something we think about once a year, but all year round.”