At Distance Learning College and Training’s Success Rally (available to see here) John gave a presentation on ‘Developing People and Growing your Business’ this is a written overview of the talk. The presentation itself can be viewed below.
After completing a DPhil in Chemistry, John joined the ICI corporate R&D laboratory where he held a number of senior management positions. In the early 90’s he joined EVC/Enichem joint venture based in Brussels. Following this, John launched and then as managing director, led Invoyl, a new global business venture involved in specialty chemicals and technology licensing.
In 2005, John joined Cogent Skills, a company which works with employers to develop, design and deploy skills solutions for the science industries. As strategy director, his responsibilities included the development of the employer engagement strategy to enable Cogent to fulfil its fundamental objective – improving businesses from the individual up.
The presentation detailed the importance of skills training to the science sector, highlighting the associative difficulties and coming up with solutions. The Science Industry Partnership is an employer led organisation whose mission is to increase the skills of science sector workers. Cogent Skills exist to fulfil this need and tackle the wider issues of skill gaps within the industry.
The practical advice John offered was his assessment of the most desired skills within the sector and Cogent’s ability to measure and adapt to these necessities. This approach ought to be taken by all training providers, but there was more. Cogent’s approach is a focus on developing a well-rounded individual, a worker who can respond to circumstances, rather than be dictated by them. This advice could be applied to all businesses: The focus should be on specialisation, but should also include training in other skills, to ensure any deficiencies do not impact their day to day activities and they can respond with different actions as needed.
The emphasis was on the future of workplace training. It was very interesting to hear how the industry has changed over the years, with funding once being given to the training provider, rather than the business who seek to improve their staff. However, John sees these government investments quickly drying up, providing fresh challenges not only for the training sector, but to meeting the challenges of skills gap crisis. This crisis cannot be solved by traditional institutional methods such as schools or universities, due to the hyper-specialisation of most roles. Meaning, training is indispensable yet unaffordable.
How the industry reacts remains to be seen.
John is clearly an expert and speaks with remarkable composure and confidence, answering seemingly difficult questions with easy to understand and illuminating answers. This video is a must watch for anybody who wants to improve their worker’s skills or their own.