In the latest interview in our new ‘Meet the TCE Team’ series, we caught up with Grainne Patterson, TCE’s Learning & Development Manager, to find out more about her first six months in post.
When did you join the company?
I joined in March 2018, so I have been with TCE for six months.
What’s your current role?
Learning and Development Manager
What are your day-to-day responsibilities at TCE?
I sit within our HR team as the main Learning and Development lead for the company. This involves managing the learning and development initiatives across all TCE sites, ranging from talent programmes and technical training to e-learning.
Where did you work previously and what has this previous experience brought to your current role?
I previously held a similar role at Ashtead Plant Hire for 12 years, working multi-site across the UK. My experience of managing apprenticeship programmes and management development programmes has ensured that I was equipped with the skills and knowledge to hit the ground running at TCE.
What have been the key initiatives you’ve been involved in since you joined TCE?
The new apprenticeship programme, in conjunction with Warrington & Vale College, has been a key initiative since starting at TCE, with the successful recruitment of four new apprentices who joined us at the end of August.
In addition, the project to automate the training system, creating the Development Hub, will provide TCE with a more robust and reliable training system, ensuring that the right training is provided to the right individuals.
What did you see as the biggest challenges when you joined the business and how have you tackled them?
I’d say that my biggest challenge was not having any direct experience of the manufacturing and chemical industry. However, I spent my first month in the role visiting the sites and meeting the key people who were only too happy to share their knowledge. This was a great help in increasing my understanding of the business.
Getting out on site and spending time with the operators was a great way to get a feel for the industry and the specific work that goes on. The willingness of everyone to not only help me in my own understanding, but also to embrace and support Learning and Development has made my assimilation into TCE so much easier!
What are the highlights/what are you most proud of?
To date I am most proud of securing the four new apprentices and getting them on board and my work on the Development Hub.
Do you think employee engagement has increased in Learning and Development activities?
Yes, I’m very pleased to say that employee engagement has certainly increased. As a direct result of going out on site and speaking to managers we’ve seen an influx of training requests form interested employees. It’s our aim to be more proactive than reactive and the introduction of the new, automated course system should also reinforce this approach.
Starting with our MD’s example and running throughout the company I see ‘People’ as the focus at TCE and I believe this will continue to reap positive effects and make my role in L&D all the more fulfilling.
Are certain types of training now in greater demand?
From speaking to senior managers, there is a desire to focus on the team leader population in the organisation ensuring they are equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge to effectively manage their team and prepare them for future development opportunities within the organisation.
Have you seen the role of HR Learning & Development teams change over the years?
Yes, it has changed with the evolution of the HR/Learning & Development business partnering model. This enables us to work closely with business leaders and line managers to build capabilities, manage talent and develop fresh approaches that achieve shared organisational goals. In the past six months, I have seen evidence of this here at TCE through such initiatives as succession planning and investing in apprentices as the talent pipeline for the future.
Changes in how training is delivered has prompted a move from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to a more blended learning method, combining traditional classroom methods, e-learning and independent study which can be evidenced at TCE through the talent programmes.
What advantageous changes in L&D do you see taking place at TCE in the coming months & longer- term future?
We’re already looking to an increase in our investment in training as well as a longer term target the target of doubling the number of new apprentices.