Report on developing skills

Developing skills in a large organisation through training and development A National Grid case study Page 1: Introduction National Grid is one of the world’s largest utilities. It focuses on the delivery of energy (gas and electricity) safely, reliably, responsibly and efficiently. The networks include: around 4,500 miles of overhead power lines 340 electricity substations 4,300 miles of high pressure gas pipelines around 80,000 miles of distribution pipes delivering gas to 11 million meters. The skills of National Grid employees are at the heart of its success in reaching world- lass safety, operating and financial performance.

Many of the company’s roles are complex, requiring both a wide range and depth of skills. Some examples of activities carried out in various Job areas within the company include: This case study focuses on how National Grid manages training and development within the organisation. National Grid I Developing skills in a large organisation through training and development Page 2: Workforce planning and identifying training needs Workforce planning Workforce planning involves making sure that the organisation has the right skills to meet its current and future needs.

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For example, this might include identifying how many highly qualified engineers National Grid needs in the period 2007-2010. It is then possible to identify whether the company needs to recruit additional specialist engineers from outside the organisation or train those already employed. National Grid recognises that about 40% of its current workforce will reach retirement age over the next 10-15 years.

Combined with the trend over the last decade of fewer students studying engineering at university, this is likely to result in a skills shortage.

To combat this, National Grid is actively involved in a number of educational nitiatives aimed at students beginning from age nine. These initiatives seek to help increase the number and diversity of young people interested in engineering careers. This ultimately creates a greater pool of skilled talent from which National Grid can recruit. Educational initiatives Two such educational initiatives in which National Grid participates are the Engineering Education Scheme (EES) and Headstart. EES involves the company’s graduate trainees working with sixth form students.

The focus is on providing real- world engineering projects for them to work on. Headstart/link is a programme run at he end of year 12 for students to learn more about engineering. It is a four-day course held at 24 universities and involves hands-on experiences. There are also courses run specifically for young females interested in the field of engineering. Work placement programmes National Grid has also invested in work placement programmes for university students.

These experiences help the students learn more about National Grid as both a business and an employer.

It also enables students to bring to life the theory from their coursework. Additionally, the company runs programmes for foundation ngineers, graduates and apprentices. All of these schemes provide important training and development needed to build and sustain National Grid’s workforce. Training is the process of equipping people with skills that meet the needs of an organisation. Development focuses on identifying and meeting the work-related needs of employees.

Training and development National Grid is committed to both training and development.

There are two main forms of training and development: Page 3: On-the-Job training On-the-Job training is valuable where realism is essential. It is a particularly good way of developing technical skills. During on-the-Job training, a colleague or supervisor guides the employee through tasks and processes so that the employee knows how to perform the task and to what standard. Typically, the supervisor observes the trainees while they perform their duties.

After observation, the observer provides the trainees with feedback on their performance.

All of National Grid’s schemes provide extensive on-the-Job training and have received several accolades and awards. The Graduate Development Programme This is open to applications from graduates with a 2:1 degree or above in an engineering or commercial subject. About 40 graduates will be employed in 2007. About three-quarters of those employed Join the engineering programme and the remaining quarter Join the commercial and finance programmes.

The foundation modules of the programme last 18 months, during which time graduates are provided with three, six-month placements.

Two of these are with a future Job in mind and the other one is to broaden their perspective and give them more insight into the company. During each placement, graduates have real, on-the-Job projects to complete. They also work with a mentor, who provides guidance and support. Apprenticeships National Grid is among the top employers in Britain for its Advanced Apprenticeships. An apprenticeship provides a recognised qualification and a technical role in the company.

National Grid has apprenticeships ranging from 24 to 36 months, all of which contain substantial elements of on-the-Job training.

Employees on Advanced Apprenticeships are typically aged 16 and over, have at least 4 GCSEs and have an interest in technical operations. 88 apprentices will be appointed in 2007. National Grid I Developing skills in a large organisation through training and development Page 4′ Off-the-Job training This is any form of training which takes place away from the immediate workplace. Off-the-Job training includes more general skills and knowledge useful for work, as well as Job-specific training. Training may be provided by specialist trainers working for National Grid or by an outside company hired to help with training.

Off-the-Job training is particularly effective for non-technical skills, as employees can use these across different areas of the company. Induction training Both apprentices and graduates receive induction training. One of the induction modules for graduates is a project that aims to accelerate their understanding of the hole company and introduce them to the behaviours required for working in business teams. It provides many opportunities to learn about and explore four core competencies: 1 . Managing oneself.

Trainees learn tools and techniques to help their self-development through managing their time effectively, meeting deadlines and targets and building other personal capabilities.

2. Working with others. Trainees develop leadership and influencing skills, learn to better listen to and respect others, build team spirit and understand personal differences within the team. 3. Business and strategic awareness.

Trainees learn and analyse the company’s strategy and the commercial environment in which it operates. 4. Planning to achieve.

Trainees improve their skills in data gathering and interpretation, project management and creative problem solving. Health and Safety In addition, Health and Safety is an essential part of training at National Grid, whether employees perform their work in an office or outdoors in the field.

National Grid passionately believes that all workplace injuries and incidents are preventable. The company constantly emphasises the importance for all employees to ensure heir own safety, the safety of their colleagues and the public as well as the safety of the company’s networks.

The company’s Road to Zero programme is in place to help the company achieve its target of zero injuries every day. National Grid’s Golden Rules are a fundamental building block for its Road to Zero programme. They focus on critical areas of the business where safe behaviours are essential to safeguard employees and the public.

They cover behaviours that will prevent the most serious injuries. Page 5: Development Development is the process of supporting the improvement of a person in line with ndividual needs and business requirements. At National Grid, development does not end when a training scheme ends.

National Grid’s culture promotes the continuing development of its staff. Development reviews During the year, employees have development reviews.

A development review involves an individual sitting down with his/her manager to talk about what development the employee needs and what support the company can provide to assist the employee in fulfilling the need(s). For example, an employee might state that he or she would like to improve his/her Information and Communications Technology( T) and public speaking skills in order to more ettectively develop and deliver business presentations.

This need could be fulfilled using on-the-Job or off- the-Job training, or a combination of both. For example, the employee may work with a colleague who is preparing and delivering a presentation. Alternatively or additionally, the employee may attend a classroom-based training course. Once discussed during the development review, the development needs and associated training and development necessary to fulfil them are set out in a document called a personal development plan (PDP).

The PDP is reviewed for progress at points hroughout the year.

The following profile of Johnny Johnston, graduate engineer, provides an example of how National Grid supports the training and development of its people. Johnny Johnston My relationship with National Grid has been going on for some time. After I completed my A levels, I Joined National Grid as a Year in Industry student. I was 18. I knew very little about this business.

But the whole experience opened my eyes to the size and scope of National Grid. I was sponsored through university, coming back to a different area of the company each summer for an eight-week placement.

After I completed my master’s degree in engineering science, I Joined the company’s Graduate Development Programme. As an engineering graduate, my development was made up of 50% technical and 50% commercial training. I also received competency-based training that has come in very useful in the real working environment. It was a pretty intense 18 months since we covered a lot of ground, but it is well put together and really enjoyable.

I have worked in various departments and locations throughout the company. One of my placements on the graduate scheme was in the corporate centre in London, which ave me high-level exposure to projects.

I spent two great years on a secondment to the US working on the electricity side of the business, developing as an economics expert in transmission operations. I’ve also had experience on the gas side of the business, managing projects in gas distribution. Last year, I completed the company’s Emergent Leaders’ Programme, in which we as delegates got to sink our teeth into a high profile business project. Our project revolved around the power line and pipeline diversion in East London that’s part of the city’s preparation for the 2012 Olympics.