Can learning change lives?

first_imgCan learning change lives?On 1 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Many major developments projects are under way to receive a major push.  But are we expecting too much?  Elaine Essery gathers the opinions of majorplayersThis year sees a number of further developments in the learning and skillsarena: the creation of Sector Skills Councils, the national roll-out ofJobCentre Plus, the advancement of the Government’s Workforce Developmentproject and the introduction of the Entry to Employment initiative. Last December learning providers and policy makers attended Changing LivesThrough Learning, a conference organised by the Centre for Economic and SocialInclusion, to survey recent and forthcoming reforms and discuss theirimplications. Training Magazine contacted some of the speakers to ask them: Inwhat ways can learning change lives? And should the impetus come fromGovernment, the employer or the individual? Peter Little OBEChief executive, Birmingham RathboneLearning absolutely can and should change lives and I’m very enthusiasticabout the potential of current reforms to learning and skills. Entry toEmployment could make a tremendous difference to people who have learningdifficulties, but it’s all down to the implementation. It’s essential we getthe right structures, funding and support mechanisms in place. It needs to beflexible enough to meet individual needs and, in order for the learning to workso that people can get employment skills, the period of entitlement must belong enough. I’d be concerned if the idea was to get a quick throughput ofpeople and we must make sure it doesn’t happen that way. Ian PalmerJobCentre Plus, secretariatJobCentre Plus will be bringing into the system a much wider range ofclients and we’re hoping to create many more opportunities for individuals toimprove their skills. Our advisers will assess the prospect each person has ofgetting back into work and identify what barriers exist. Our relationship withproviders will be about reviewing the training that is available to make surethe needs of this new group of people are being met. The key is to be able todevelop individuals so that they have the skill sets that employers are lookingfor, to bridge the gap between the vast pool of labour we have access to andthe skills shortages that exist. Andy WestwoodSenior policy advisor, The Industrial SocietyIf we really want to change lives through learning, we’ve also got to changethe way jobs are constructed. We have got to raise the skills people have atintermediate level and to raise the number of jobs where people can use thoseskills. Raising one without the other would create as many problems as we haveanyway – if you raise the quality of jobs on offer then we’ll have a problemwith skills shortages; if you raise skills, you’ll have people’s expectationsdashed as they go into jobs that don’t need them. Employers have to get theirheads around using higher skill strategies. It’s at least as much a challengefor employers as it is for individuals. Sarah FitzpatrickWorkforce Development Team, Performance and Innovation UnitWe consider it very important that those who don’t currently receive theopportunity for work-based development do so. Our role is to look at how toraise demand. A range of ideas and principles to get demand from individualsand among employers is set out in our report. Placing more purchasing power inthe hands of individuals and employers can be very powerful in raising demand,as well as changing the system so it is not supply-side driven. Governmentpriority for spending is on basic skills, but we want employers to takeresponsibility where their responsibility lies. We need to encourage employersto think about the skills they can develop in their workers that will help themsucceed in their business. If interventions come from that side they’re morelikely to be effective. Joan MunroHead of local Government NTOSector Skills Councils can offer a new direction for skills development bybeing higher profile organisations than most NTOs have managed to be. The ideais that they’re the voice for employers and ultimately employers need to driveeducation much more than they do at the moment. But it’s easy to say educationshould be employer led – you need an effective mechanism for knowing whatemployers want. At present, a lot of courses are out of date or don’t leadanywhere and people doing them are misled in thinking they’re going to leadthem to employment. Employers need to tell learning providers exactly what itis they need. That’s the challenge for Sector Skills Councils. Paul ConveryDirector, Centre for Economic and Social InclusionThere’s a fuzzy line somewhere around NVQ level 2, tending towards level 3.Those below that level earn less and have a worse work-life balance. The issueis how to help people climb a number of steps from the bottom of a deep pool sothat they can come up and breathe air. The Government has to be the agent thatdoes most, but employers have to see skills as an investment and something goodfor business. It’s a fallacy that you have to take people a long, long way – forexample, those with poor literacy and numeracy skills can have very good keyskills. We have to look at ways in which firms can raise their sights. last_img read more

Investment bank scraps casual dress for suits

first_imgInvestment bank scraps casual dress for suitsOn 19 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Casual dress is being packed away by investment bank Lehman Brothers. The US company, which championed the move to polo shirts and chinos threeyears ago, is re-introducing formal wear in the office. A memo sent to staff by its operating committee stated that: “much hasoccurred, including some changes and rethinking regarding workenvironments”. Men have returned to wearing suits and ties and women have been asked towear “suits with either a skirt or trousers, a dress, or other equivalentattire.” The bank, which posted record profits of £1.06bn last year, said the changesare due to a significant increase in client contact brought on by the growth ofthe business. UK employees of the investment bank are being encouraged to contact their HRdepartment if the policy – which still allows staff to dress down on Fridays –causes difficulties. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Professional dilemmas

first_imgDo you have an e-learning problem? Then ask our experts to find a solution.E-mail it to the address at the bottom of the page Are there any rules as to how much learning content can be viewed/ featuredon screen at any one time if it is still to remain effective to the learner? Though there are no real set rules as such, it is possible to determine somepractical guidelines to govern the way learning content is displayed on screen.However, before any guidelines governing the way content is displayed can bedetermined, three issues must be carefully considered. First, what is thetarget audience’s age group, intelligence and ability? Second, what is thenature of the learning content itself? Finally, what is its actual purpose –what does the developer want the user to gain from using it? The way in which learning content can be displayed on screen can vary in anumber of ways. For example, the text format (the choice of font and font size,use of bold and italics, paragraphs, bullet points, etc); the use, frequency,style and scale of diagrams, illustrations and animations; the balance betweenclear and concise text that needs to stand out and more wordy, explanatorytext; and the overall appearance of the content on screen (interface design,proximity of text and graphics, use of empty space, and so on) can changedepending on the aim of the learning. Look at the design approach taken in thelight of these and judge whether you think the information is sufficiently accessible.If it is a technical subject, are there enough graphics to engage the learner?Nothing turns a learner off more than acres of on-screen text. These guidelines can then be matched to the physical and technicalconstraints of the target user’s computer to determine the actual quantity oflearning content to be viewed on screen at any one time – factors such asscreen size, resolution, colour depth and the delivery mechanism itself (wholescreen, in window, in browser, etc). Careful consideration of all these factorswill help determine the design and layout to ensure the user benefits withoutgetting overloaded with information. Response supplied by Jason Baker, general manager of Aircom Education andTraining, [email protected] Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Professional dilemmasOn 1 May 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

My resources

first_imgMy resourcesOn 14 May 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Kevin Hogarth, director of international resourcing at Capital OnePublications I usually read Sunday papers especially The Sunday Timesand the Observer business sections. I find these give me a summary of the keybusiness issues of the past week and also preview the issues likely to arise inthe week ahead. There are also a number of interesting case studies ofbusinesses or business leaders. I find it difficult to find the time to read adaily paper so tend to pick up business news from the radio – Wake Up to Moneyon 5Live and Today Business Report on Radio 4. Books The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Covey) is wellwritten, easy to read and full of sensible ideas. The Paradox of Success (JohnR O’Neill) was very thought-provoking and especially useful for anyone involvedin working with individual executives or executive teams. It is also good froma personal development, renewal and work-life balance perspective. I have readlots of Handy’s books and I think The Empty Raincoat is the best. HumanResource Champions (Ulrich) – is pretty much the key HR guru so I get no prizesfor originality but is always worth reading or re-reading. Now Discover YourStrengths by Marcus Buckingham is a refreshing look at how we can improve ourperformance and that of the people who work for us by concentrating on what wedo well. TV I don’t get much time to watch TV and don’t really watch anybusiness programmes as I get all the information from the radio. Radio 5Live and Radio 4 are indispensable. Internet I use the internet more than any other media for informationand news and some of the main sites I visit are,,,mckinseyquarterly,, and Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

A home from home…

first_imgThe workplace is the new community – if you have the right job, says StephenOverellHave you heard? Work is the new community. It can give us friends, lovers,identity, purpose, well-being, childcare and dry-cleaning – pretty welleverything you might expect from a community, really – and the idea is goingdown a storm among policy anoraks and employers. “As geographical andclass identities decline, there is little doubt that work is taking on a newcentrality in people’s lives,” says Angela Baron, an adviser to the CIPD. Anxiously trendy companies are keen to daub the workplace with thevocabulary of a mini-society. Instead of a job at internet search engineGoogle, workers are offered ‘the chance to be part of a community of peopledoing meaningful work’. It is not the role so much as belonging that is key;employees are consumers of a collective experience. They can bring theirchildren to work, play roller-hockey, park their scooters and pets in theircubicles, use the gym, take a sauna, have a massage and then tinkle the ivorieson the grand piano when the muse strikes. All very dot-com, of course. But in the wake of 11 September, it was notedthat one of the widespread consequences was a renewed appetite for communityand belonging in Western democracies. Corporate ‘communities’ and ‘families’duly sprang up to plug the gap left by class and location – at least in theminds of some. Allegedly, business briefly became the new home front. “It became clear that, for the first time, businesses – and moreimportantly employees – were under attack,” says Kevin Thomson, founder, a think-tank set up to probe the implications of theterrorist attack. “Business was the target and employees are now in thefront line.” Such feelings have not lasted. Yet the wider idea – that the workplace istaking on the functions of community – is a fruitful one, chiefly because ithelps make sense of much contemporary fuss concerning life at work. It explainswhy so many social issues are being tackled through the suffix ‘at work’, ascampaign groups target the workplace. Ergo, bullying at work, depression atwork, racism at work. It explains why some employers are acting likequasi-nation states, offering healthcare, eye-tests, playgroups and care forthe elderly. Or quasi spas, with shoulder-massages and anxiety-hotlines. Orquasi valets, with shopping services and someone to feed the cat. Furthermore, it explains why so many executives claim to have little timefor formal authority in how they run their companies and a great belief in thepersuasive power of influence, trust and empathy in motivating staff. Perhaps above all, the work-as-community theory makes a virtue of the factthat many people spend more hours at work than the previous generation. Indeed,for a third of staff, work is the most important thing in their lives. A commoninterest in work between colleagues can, if they get too interested, easilybecome a common interest in being edgy at home. Is the supposed new centrality of work a good thing for society? Accordingto Richard Reeves, author of Happy Mondays, it is nothing to grumble about.”If people get more out of work than they do from home, then fair enough.If we accept work that is dull, demeaning – work that is simply a ransom paidfor the hostage of our ‘free time’ – then we are allowing alienation toremain.”1 Most commentators, however, see the decline of community as something tomourn. Robert Putnam, the sociologist who wrote Bowling Alone: the Decline andRevival of American Community, is in no doubt that contemporary attitudes towork wreck society, rather than re-create it in an office setting. “Work,with its gruelling hours and traffic-snarled commutes, is taking over our livesand depriving us of time with family, friends and community,” he wrote.2 Arlie Russell Hochschild, in her book The Time Bind3, suggests the reasonsbehind the compulsion to work are rarely simple. She claims people are workinglonger and harder not because employers are demanding and inflexible, butbecause employees find greater satisfaction at work than where they live. Workaffords order and a degree of stability, with teamwork evolving into areplacement for family relationships. At home lies dysfunction and uncertainty,so people create pressure at work as a means of escape. If that sounds a bit far-fetched, Richard Sennett, a sociologist at theLondon School of Economics, takes the opposite view: work is inspiring alonging for traditional communities. In The Corrosion of Character, he writes:”One of the unintended consequences of modern capitalism is that it hasstrengthened the value of place, aroused a longing for community. All theemotional conditionsÉ in the workplace animate that desire: the uncertaintiesof flexibility, the absence of deeply-rooted trust and commitment, the superficialityof teamwork; most of all the spectre of failing to make something of oneself inthe world, to ‘get a life’ through one’s work. All these conditions impelpeople to look for some other scene of attachment and depth.”4 While employers may enjoy thinking of their companies as communities forreasons of managerial productivity, there is a whiff of elitism involved. Itcould only ever really apply to a tiny section of the professional middleclass, whose employers provide so-called concierge services. Work may well bemore important than it used to be to a few, who live in cities, work inoffices, feel little identification with physical communities and expectfulfilment from their job. For most, work is a means to an end, as ever it was.If you knock off the fitness centres, childcare and cat feeding from thelist of ‘social services’ being offered by a few employers, it is alsodebatable whether work hasn’t always been fundamental to ideas of community.Emile Durkheim, one of the founders of modern sociology, writing in 1933,argued: “Social life comes from a double source – the likeness ofconsciences and the division of social labour.” Work-as-the-new-community may be a serviceable slogan for seminars, soireesand shop-talk, but the chief reason why it won’t wash is this: it betrays adesire to put a positive gloss on the long-hours culture. It’s a nicemotherhood notion that makes work seem worthwhile. 1 Happy Mondays: Putting the Pleasure Back Into Work, by Richard Reeves,Momentum, 2000 2 Bowling Alone: The Decline and Revival of American Community, by RobertPutnam, Simon and Schuster, 2000 3 The Time Bind: When Home Becomes Work and Work Becomes Home, Owl Books,1997 4 The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the NewCapitalism, by Richard Sennett, WW Norton and Co, 1999 Join the Xperts Take a free trial by calling 01483 257775 or e-mail: [email protected] is a new web-based information service bringing together leading informationproviders: IRS, Butterworths Tolley and Personnel Today. It features a newButterworths Tolley employment law reference manual, a research database andguidance from 13 specialist IRS journals, including IRS Employment Review. Research Viewpoint plusRead related articles on this topic from XpertHR’s extensivedatabase free. Go to Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. A home from home…On 21 May 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more

Serial bullies ‘don’t change their spots’

first_imgSerial bullies ‘don’t change their spots’On 1 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Thank you for printing the letters on Bullies at Work (August 2002) relatingto what happens when it is the occupational health nurse being bullied. From 1988 to 1999, I was the OH manager for a nurse-led occupational healthservice in west London. In 1999, I moved from a very secure and happy working environment to take upa post as OH manager in an NHS Trust in South Yorkshire, which has an excellentreputation for its staff education and training programmes. The first six months were excellent in terms of the challenge the servicedemanded, but slowly, and without me being aware, I was being very subtlybullied by the consultant, who was both my manager and the director of theservice. It did not matter how much effort was put in to developing the service,reports, and discussions, the work was always wrong, there was constantnit-picking, and nothing was right. I was undermined in meetings; informationwas never passed on until the last minute, so I was unable to meet deadlines;and there was never any support to enable me to manage difficult departmentalissues. Over a period of 12 months, I began to question my own ability, and worriedas to why I was unable to do my job as effectively as I had done for manyyears. My self-esteem and confidence became non-existent, sleep patterns wereinterrupted, thought patterns were eroded and decision-making became ahorrendous task. The situation came to a head when, at a meeting with others present, theanger that was directed at me by my manager made it so difficult for me tocontinue to work in that sort of an environment, I had no alternative but toleave the meeting. I was so distressed by what had happened that I went on sickleave for six months. It took a considerable amount of time to realise that it was not me that hadthe problem. When you are in the cycle of checking and double checking everypiece of work before it is submitted, to then find out that it was not what wasrequired, you are unable to apply rational thinking to the situation. I received a tremendous amount of support from the nurses and the physicianwithin the team, and I remain very concerned for their well-being. I have now left the employment of this Trust and re-commenced working atmanager level. I have returned to an environment that is a pleasure to work in.Since leaving the Trust, I have discovered that the situation I found myselfin was nothing new – other senior nurses have left due to the treatment theyreceived. During my period of employment, I spoke with my manager regarding the effecttheir behaviour was having on me and, on a couple of occasions, to the chiefnurse, who was my manager’s manager, in the hope that the situation would beresolved. The consultant remains in post; nothing appears to have been done. Serial bullies do not, like the leopard, change their spots. The Trust’spolicy on bullying and harassment did not support me. The impression this givesis that you can get away with this sort of behaviour because no-one is preparedto do anything about it. I have been a nurse since 1963, and worked in the occupational healthsetting in the public and private sectors and have never before been subjectedto the treatment I received during my time in South Yorkshire. It has taken me a year to get my confidence and self-esteem back and havethe courage to write this letter. Name and address supplied Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

E-Skills gears up for information age

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. E-Skills gears up for information ageOn 1 Sep 2003 in Personnel Today E-Skills UK, the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for IT, telecoms and contactcentres, has joined forces with major IT-related institutions to establish theSkills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) foundation. This will enableemployers of IT professionals to set up a framework for assessing theprofessional skills of their IT staff and help to identify people with theright skills for projects and assignments. Working with e-Skills in the venture are the British Computer Society, theInstitute for the Management of Information Systems, and the Institute ofElectrical Engineers. The foundation will provide the framework free of charge to end-userorganisations and will license it to providers of software and services whichwant to base their offerings on SFIA. Its steering group is made up of people from SFIA’s user community andincludes Accenture, Cisco, the Department of Trade and Industry, IBM, LearningTree, the Ministry of Defence, Norwich Union, Parity, QA Training and the IrishComputer Society. “E-Skills has developed SFIA with input from the industry at everystage,” says Terry Watts, the SSC’s chief operations officer. “Thefoundation will now be able to take this further and ensure the framework isused to develop skills on a continuous basis to benefit employees andemployers. “On-the-job learning is crucial to IT. Employers can use the frameworknot just to ensure they find the right people for their projects, but the rightprojects for their people.” Weblink read more

Breaches of law costs hitting hard

first_img Comments are closed. Lawyers are warning organisations that rises in the levels of compensationpayments that can be awarded for breaches of employment law could cost UKbusinesses £20m for unfair dismissal cases alone. The total amount that can be awarded to individuals at employment tribunalshas risen in several types of case, but the bill for unfair dismissal couldrise by more than £500,000 during 2004 and 2005. Associa Employment Service has warned that the increases could hit the UK’ssmaller firms the hardest. Mark Thompson, legal team leader at the firm, saidthe increases in the upper limit for statutory redundancy and unfair dismissalcould prove costly for employers. “Small businesses face a challenging year dealing with employment lawchanges. These increases will be another unwelcome cost for many employers. “New anti-discrimination legislation introduced at the end of last yearcould leave businesses facing an increase in claims in addition to the unfairdismissal compensation bill,” he said. The changes, which took effect at the beginning of February, raised themaximum compensation for unfair dismissal from £53,500 to £55,000. Other awards affected by the increases include the figure used to calculatea week’s pay and the amount of compensation given when an individual isexcluded or expelled from a union. Breaches of law costs hitting hardOn 1 Mar 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

On the move

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. On the moveOn 16 Mar 2004 in Personnel Today Douglas Frost has joined pharmaceutical group Alliance UniChem as group HRdirector designate. Most recently, Frost was European organisation andmanagement development director of the Mars Group. Jacuzzi UK, one of the largest bathroom manufacturers in the UK, hasappointed Joanne Wormald as human relations manager. Based at the firm’s headoffice in Bradford, she will be responsible for managing HR across the company.Jacuzzi currently employs around 800 staff in the UK. Trinity Mirror, the UK’s largest newspaper publisher, has appointed regionalHR directors for the company’s southern and Scotland regions. The new positionsare taken up by Richard Boon (pictured), regional HR director, South, andLesley Sommerville, who joins as regional HR director, Scotland. The drive to modernise the practices of Warrington Borough Council has beenboosted by the secondment of a top senior civil service inspector. Peter Munro,currently a business inspector with the Department of Health, has joined the councilfor one year as programme director (management and organisation development). Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Lee & Associates founder Bill Lee dies

first_imgBill Lee (Lee & Associates/YouTube)Bill Lee, who founded the commercial real estate brokerage Lee & Associates, died on April 5 at the age of 78.His eponymous firm confirmed the news via an obituary on its website. The cause of death was cancer.Lee founded the firm in 1979 in Orange County, California, out of a 4,000-square-foot office. It’s since grown to have 65 locations throughout North America, with more than 1,300 employees. It also claims to be the largest broker-owned firm in the United States, with a profit-sharing model that “allow[s] agents the opportunity to maximize their deals in terms of commission dollars,” according to the firm.It transacted approximately $14 billion worth of real estate in 2020.ADVERTISEMENT“I revisited all of the reasons I started the company, and I realized that I did it because the future was more valuable to me than the present,” said Lee, reflecting on his journey in a 2019 interview with Jeffrey Rinkov, the current CEO of Lee & Associates.Lee retired from the company in 2008.Born Oct. 22, 1942, in Santa Monica, California, Lee earned a physical education degree from Cal State Northridge before getting his start in real estate, according to the Orange County Register. He worked at the brokerage Grubb & Ellis for nine years, earning SIOR designation in 1977.[The Orange County Register] — Orion Jones Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Tags Commercial Real EstateLee & Associatesobituary Share via Shortlinklast_img read more