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NATIONAL GAMING ACADEMY
CM: We were looking at getting Genting and all the
other major players on board with the NVQ. With
Genting it was a case of ‘yes, we’d love to pilot your NVQ
with the possibility of rolling it out over the estate if it is
successful’ which is potentially 2,000 members of staff.
We sat down and discussed ways of making the minimum
impact on the businesses – so the majority of the
candidates will be funded through the Government’s Train
to Gain initiative, so there will be no big cost to Genting
for putting all these people through the qualification. The
only real cost to them is time off the gaming floor. The
model we discussed and decided on was that delivery of
the NVQ will take place in the workplace, on the change
of shift. We start at 7.45 at night and we finish at 9.45,
so people who are on the day shift come off the gaming
floor an hour early, and the company gives them an hour
on their NVQ and the candidates have to give an hour of
their own time. Not only is it showing that the company
is there to support them, it is showing some commitment
from each candidate to complete this NVQ – it shows
that they are willing to do it.
One of the things that I was very pleased about was operate. We take our trainees on and we take them on with
when they advertised for candidates, they had to select – the values that they will go into the industry with – that’s
they had more names that we had places on the pilot. what we try to teach them, as well as what the curriculum
That showed that, even in one casino, there is a demand says we must teach them. It’s all about underpinning the
there – staff want to formalize what they do. And they curriculum with the values of the industry.
should be able to, like any other industry. It is a credible
industry, the gaming industry. It is only getting larger for CI: Tell us about your Foundation Degree…
the fact that staff can now get an NVQ, with skills and CM: We have graduated the first cohort of the
qualifications that are transferable if they do go to Foundation Degree in Casino Operations Management,
another industry…it’s fantastic. The staff have been which we ran at Blackpool & The Fylde College. It is a
invested in, and they feel valued. degree that is validated by Lancaster University. Last year
the first cohort graduated and on July 9th this year the
“The effect of training for
second cohort will graduate. They are only small groups to
motivation is fantastic”
begin with, but we are looking at a model that might allow
us to offer the degree course as distance learning. Perhaps
a model where you have to attend once every three weeks,
In times of turmoil where a lot of companies throughout so you are not having to be in college every single week and
the gaming industry have had, unfortunately, to make would be able to work a rota around that. Some of the
redundancies, it’s an excellent tool to remotivate staff, to modules are enlightening. I have been a manager for
show that ‘yes, we are going through tough times, but as a years…to go through that qualification and benchmark
company we want to invest in you’. It has never been done what I have done against what you should be doing is
before. fantastic. I would have loved to have done it ten years
The effect of training for motivation is fantastic. ago…giving you that full overview of the business, and
We’re not exactly the average teachers. 95 per cent of us that it’s not just a gaming floor in a casino, it’s the whole
are from the industry, so we understand that we have to be business. That’s what it does – the Foundation Degree, for
flexible to meet the needs of the industry in which we me, is ideal for people at Pit Boss level or Pit Boss junior
managers. It just makes you step back a little bit and look
at the casino as a business, as opposed to a gaming floor. I
think it is a fantastic qualification.
The whole change of curriculum that the staff have had
to go through…this time last year, we were told that the
courses we were running at that time – the Advanced
Diploma in Casino Operations – we were told ‘you are not
going to get funding for that next year’. So within five
months we hooked up with City and Guilds and People
First, the Sector Skills Council, and got deeply involved in
finishing off these NVQs so that we could have courses to
deliver. Otherwise, the funding would have been pulled – we
had to completely change the curriculum. In the long term,
it’s a very, very good thing.
MAY 2009 35
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