Learning at Work Week: Blog

20 May 2021

3 minute read

Richard Norbury, Head of Quality Assurance, has written the following blog discussing our latest updates and investments in our people.

"As this is Learning at Work Week and Carpenters Group find themselves busy rolling out business-wide training covering the imminent changes that the Civil Liabilities Act 2018 will bring, it seems apt to talk about learning and development generally within Carpenters Group and highlight some of the changes the past 14 months have forced upon us in how we train our colleagues and some of the investments made into their support and development.

Carpenters has always been committed to the development of all of our colleagues and that continues to be the case. However, the way we support and develop them has had to change. Gone are the days of classroom training sessions where the Training Team spend hours setting up countless sessions taking into account colleagues work shifts and planned absences and then bemoan the fact their training sessions are half empty because business and customer service demands mean learners can’t attend. What the pandemic has taught us is that learning and development has to be flexible for the individual as well as the business.

Don’t get me wrong, classroom training has its benefits and as lockdown has begun to ease, so our Insurance Services Academy has slowly begun to return to the office. Through lockdown our   Academy remotely trained over 50 agents new to the business. This has been challenging, not just with the inevitable IT and connectivity issues, but especially so when these agents go on shift for the first time. There’s nothing quite like having some experienced support alongside you when you can quite literally put your hand up and a trainer is immediately on hand to answer that question for you. Yes, an element of this can be done on Teams or a WhatsApp group, but that physical presence alongside you as you have your first challenging customer can be so reassuring as the ‘newbie’ realises they’re not alone.

What our Training Academy has found is that classroom training is much more productive and beneficial for new starters to the business, the group dynamic is better, relationships with colleagues develop quicker and stronger and that sense of not being alone lessens immensely. In time, we hope all new starter training in our Academy will be classroom based and as agents develop their skills and confidence, so they can revert to their shifts and teams quicker and start working in a more agile fashion, something that Carpenters are keen to promote and develop.

Carpenters has listened to our colleagues, they’ve told us they want to learn when it’s convenient to them, at a pace that suits them and in an environment that best suits the individual. We have therefore looked for solutions that offer 24/7 access via different media platforms and allows the learner to dip in and out of training modules when they have some free time or even of an evening or weekend or simply when it suits them best and allows them to build their own development paths, but also, importantly, offer management reporting tools to enable the business to monitor usage, progress, recognise and reward success and, if appropriate, identify knowledge gaps.

Just some of the learning platforms Carpenters have invested in to ensure colleagues are able to learn at their own pace and at times that suit them best include:

  • Online driving theory test support – an interactive learning tool with numerous videos and quizzes to help support colleagues through their driving and motor cycle theory tests. This is available for all our insurance and legal colleagues who do not drive or ride motor cycles to help improve their understanding of road safety.
  • Insurance training – via an accredited online training and development tool available for all our call centre and insurance colleagues. It provides 100’s of relevant courses and 1000’s of questions to help measure colleague understanding and build individual development plans and personal career pathways.
  • Legal research – all of Carpenters case handlers, both in Insurance Services and Legal now have access to online legal services giving them quick and easy access to the latest case law, compensation awards and guides to value their claims.
  • Training Webinars – all of Carpenters legal case handlers and all managers across all departments now have access to 100’s of webinars across a wide spectrum of technical, management and soft-skills, all with short tests at the end to measure learner understanding. Colleagues have the ability to create their own development schedules.
  • In-House expertise – one great thing that the past 14 months has taught us is why not look within. Why look outside of the business for training expertise, when we have it on tap. Carpenters have subject matter experts aplenty and we now utilise that expertise a lot more to pass on that knowledge and experience to our colleagues. We’re now running a whole suite of new training in-house via experts in Insurance, Costs, Advocacy and Serious Injury. There’s no better training than utilising experience straight from the coalface, from those who’ve seen it, done it and continue to do so on a daily basis.
  • Professional Qualification – Carpenters commitment to professional qualification remains as strong as ever and we continue to promote and support this across all business areas. We currently have 4 trainee solicitors, 2 of whom are on schedule to qualify this summer and plans have already started for the recruitment of our next cohort of trainees. We are supporting 10 colleagues towards CILEx qualification and other qualifications are being supported in Advocacy, Marketing and Insurance.

The past 14 months have been challenging from a learning and development perspective but Carpenters have continued to support, develop and invest in their staff via many different methods. That has only made the training function stronger, more flexible and much more agile. This has been reflected in external audits, our last accredited assessment reported that “learning and development continues to be a strength of the firm and is thought by people interviewed to work very well. People are developed to positions of greater responsibility in the firm, coaching and knowledge sharing is excellent, and achievement of relevant qualifications is supported”. I am convinced that with the continued commitment of the Executive the opportunities for colleagues to progress, develop and excel are better than ever.​"