Kent People: Talent and Organisational Development team

What’s new in your team and why have you changed your name from Learning & Organisational Development?

We used to offer learning and development at Kent in a trusted and traditional way, with a heavy reliance on classroom training. We’re now moving towards a ‘blended’ model. There will still be plenty of opportunities to engage with colleagues in bite-sized training sessions but also greater access to e-learning. This means we can reach more colleagues, giving them the freedom to learn away from the classroom, at a time that suits them.

So ‘Talent & Organisational Development’ better represents our support for the University’s strategic plans and what’s happening elsewhere in our profession. It’s important to make sure learning and development isn’t a standalone activity, but part of a more holistic approach to people development at Kent.

Who’s who within your team?

From top left: Claire Chapman, Loretta Izod, Amy Terry; middle left: Clemence Marest, Lyn McBriar, Kitty Fairweather; bottom left: Jena Dady.

The first person you’re likely to meet is Kitty Fairweather, our T&OD Co-ordinator. Kitty manages our team email box (Ldev@kent.ac.uk) and is always happy to respond to general enquiries. As well as co-ordinating learning and development activities, Kitty works on a range of T&OD projects including communications and budget.

Our team is headed up by Clemence Marest, Assistant Director. Clemence is the strategic lead for our full T&OD remit, including Employee Apprenticeships and equality, diversity and inclusion. Clemence has a particular interest in how we can best develop talent and maximise the potential of staff across the organisation. She ensures that best practice and current thinking, both within and outside HE, are reflected in the design and delivery of our leadership development.

In 2020, we created two exciting new posts for Talent & Digital Learning Specialists. We were delighted that Jena Dady (previously L&OD Adviser) secured one of these posts. We also welcomed Amy Terry, who joined us from Saga. Jena and Amy have been working hard developing and shaping our new digital content and modules. A great example of this is our Future of Work e-learning suite on Staff Training Moodle. Here, you’ll find practical tips and guidance on working remotely, managing remote teams and support for staff wellbeing.

Loretta Izod, our Employee Apprenticeships Manager, offers specialist advice and guidance to the University regarding Apprenticeships and, in particular, how Kent can maximise the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy. Loretta is the ‘go to’ person for those interested in the opportunities Apprenticeships can open up for divisions, departments and individuals.

We have two T&OD Consultants, Claire Chapman and Lyn McBriar, who provide specialist professional learning and development support. Claire and Lyn work closely with the new academic divisions, central directorates and networks of partners to support the identification, design, delivery and evaluation of an expanding range of learning and organisational development initiatives.

Can you tell us more about your immediate plans?

Since our new structure went live in September last year, our focus has been on rationalising and prioritising how we deliver our service to staff.

As well as the new e-learning content, we’ve refreshed and updated many of our mandatory training modules (like Unconscious Bias). We’ve also introduced new sessions such as Assertive Communications and Trans Awareness.

We’re continuing to translate our leadership and management training into engaging and accessible format (for example, our Crucial Conversations and leadership programmes).

From an EDI perspective, we’re committed to doing all we can to ensure an environment and culture that support a balanced, inclusive and diverse community

What else do you have in mind for the longer-term?

We’ve lots of exciting projects planned for the future!  

For example, we’ll be continuing to develop our digital offer on Staff Moodle and also making the most of opportunities offered by Employee Apprenticeships.

We also have a number of University-wide projects underway to update our Induction and support career development and mentoring partnerships.

In time, many of these key projects will feed into the development of a talent development strategy for Kent. This will help us ensure that University leaders are supported, and that future leaders are identified, nurtured and developed to confidently take on relevant strategic leadership roles.

How can interested colleagues find out more/get involved?

We’d love to hear from you! Do connect with us and we’ll continue to keep you updated as our own plans and services develop further.

To get involved, you can:

  • Check out our blog for our latest news and what’s happening in the world of T&OD
  • Explore our range of e-learning sessions on Staff Training Moodle
  • Join our Staff Training Teams channel so that you won’t miss out on news of upcoming sessions, including those provided by our internal and external partners
  • Book onto training via Staff Connect – you can check out a short video explaining how it works and another video showing how to book
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Email us at: Ldev@kent.ac.uk for general enquiries or L.J.Izod@kent.ac.uk to find out more about Employee Apprenticeships.
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