Demand from business for increasingly responsive and adaptable learning and development provision has led to a shift in focus at the GTA University Centre.

After being appointed as the GTA’s new chief executive earlier this year, Simon Le Tocq, said increased communication with the business community had been one of his primary focuses.

‘We want to put the customer at the centre of everything we do and as a result the GTA University Centre has had to change the way it works. Our programmes managers are now spending more time out of the office talking to our customers about their learning and development needs and how we can help them ensure that they have the skills their organisations require to keep them competitive,’ he said.

‘Understanding what our customers want is at the heart of our operation. We have refreshed our advisory groups, which are an invaluable source of information, but we have also completed over 100 company visits since the summer. The business community is telling us that because they are operating in fast moving environments, they need learning and development partners who can move at the same pace.’

Mr Le Tocq said the information gathered from the advisory groups and company visits had led to the development of a number of new courses.

‘But perhaps more interestingly, is that companies are asking us to work alongside them, assess their learning and development needs and then deliver bespoke solutions. This requires far more engagement from the GTA but will ensure that we have a workforce which has the most up to date training and qualifications as that is critical to the island’s continued success.’

Head of group HR at Louvre Group Kerry Bachelet had identified a specific training need which wasn’t covered by any available local course and asked the GTA to help.

‘Our relationship managers had been tasked with approaching new intermediaries so were being asked to take on more of a sales aspect within their role. In view of this we felt additional training would benefit them so we discussed our needs with the GTA and they devised a bespoke two day workshop – sales communication for non-sales people,’ she said.

‘The two day workshop was a great success as staff came away feeling more confident in dealing with sales matters including how to approach and structure meetings together with building and maintaining relationships. The tutor was approachable and adapted the course to make it relevant to those attending. We would definitely recommend using the GTA for general and bespoke training needs.’

Mr Le Tocq said, ‘We are no longer pushing out courses in the hope that we will achieve a viable number, rather we are working more strategically with local organisations to ensure a much more targeted and relevant course offering.

I want the GTA to become a trusted partner working more closely with local businesses to help identify, plan and deliver all their learning and development needs for the benefit of Guernsey’s economy,’ he said

The GTA has recently become Aurigny’s training partner for the airline’s leadership and management development programme.

‘We like the GTA’s fresh approach. They responded quickly, and importantly, fully understood our requirement to deliver high quality training to help our people and our business. We are forming a great working partnership with the GTA and I know our staff and the people of Guernsey will benefit from the specialist input of a local learning enterprise,’ said Amanda Hobart, Aurigny’s human resource manager.

Mr Le Tocq added that it was not just about delivering standard training.

‘We are co-creating bespoke training programmes with professional bodies. For example, following up on the Skills Guernsey research from last year we have been working with a group of 12 HR managers to create a new world of work academy and we are working with the Chamber of Commerce to set up a Skills Academy for the hospitality sector,” he said.

The Skills Academy for the hospitality sector is a joint initiative between the Chamber of Commerce sub-group for tourism and hospitality and the GTA. We are very grateful to have the support and expertise of the GTA in putting together a dynamic programme that will have aspirational customer focused training and management development at its core and aims to develop our industry for the challenges of the future,’ said Luke Wheadon, chair of the Chamber of Commerce sub-group.