When Bethany Evans, head of L&D at Jaguar Land Rover stepped into the role, she flattened the existing learning strategy to make room for a one-stop-shop for professional skills training. Bethany reveals to Katie Richard how the new strategy has affected the business.
What does your role entail and who do you report into?
I am the head of learning and development at Jaguar Land Rover, covering our graduate and apprenticeship programmes, leadership and management skills training, coaching and mentoring, our academic relationships and technologically-based learning solutions. I report into the HR director.
What was the L&D function like when you inherited the role?
When I started, we had developed some interesting new programmes supporting cultural change initiatives but I felt that our offer needed to be award-winning and world-class, in line with our brand. Our learning was very classroom ‘chalk and talk’ based and needed to be refreshed to keep pace with our changing and expanding business.
What efforts helped you change the learning programme?
I wanted to review all of our programmes and ensure that they were fit for purpose. We had over 180 training suppliers with varying commercial offers and limited quality control. We ran a large-scale competitive tender exercise during late 2013 to procure a new coaching and mentoring, NLP and skills offer. Blue Beetle and Lane 4 were successfully appointed as our new key partner suppliers.
Tell us about your new L&D academy.
Our new academy is an on line ‘one-stop-shop’ for employees to access a variety of personal and professional skills training. We’ve developed an academy for each functional area of JLR which is tailored to individual requirements.
For example, the Finance Academy allows staff to access personal skills courses, functional and technical training and professional financial qualifications. Although classroom-based courses are still a key component of our offer, there are also e-learning modules, videos, social media, games and fact sheets to support different and individual learning styles.
Live case studies are very popular with our delegates as they bring the training alive and prove to be much more enjoyable, engaging and an excellent way to immediately embed learning and deliver our aspirations for real added value to our organisation.
You’re aiming to put 10,000 employees through the new learning offer. How will this work with such a large number?
We have a set number of places on our new training courses open to employees on a monthly basis – we’ll offer over 5,000 places per year from the central L&D team, with functions being able to procure their own additional courses from our new supply base.
We continue to work on refining our Training Needs Analysis process, which addresses individual, team and business requirements for personal development and business-related skill sets. Individuals will complete a Personal Development Plan as part of the annual appraisal process which will lead them to reflect on their personal development needs and lead to individual learning strategies. Our vision is for self-empowered learners who can take control of their development, learning what they need to in a form which suits them best anywhere in the world at their convenience.
How will this new programme benefit the business?
We’ve taken care to map our new training offer to key business requirements. Each course is mapped to our vision and values and demonstrates a high level of commercial edge and return on investment.
What tips would you offer to other L&D professionals who want to flatten and rebuild their programmes?
Finding the correct partner supplier is absolutely key. We went through a very robust and competitive tendering process and only appointed the best suppliers who were a good cultural match with JLR and we felt could meet our business aspirations and standards. Our multi-disciplinary panel chose our suppliers based on their ability to bring commercial value and understanding to our organisation.
I would also strongly recommend that the learning offer is kept constantly under review and refreshed to meet the changing needs of all businesses. We have worked hard to make learning engaging and commercially value driven. Work hard to demonstrate return on investment for the organisation.
Jaguar Land Rover is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of premium motor vehicles with over 28,000 staff globally and three main UK manufacturing sites in Warwickshire and the North West.