Taking time out to reflect as we move into autumn

The past few months have been a gruelling time for many business leaders – meaning it’s now probably a good time to reflect alongside peers. East Midlands Chamber will launch its 2020 edition of the Director

Development Programme this autumn, offering an opportunity for business owners and directors to learn new skills that could push their business vision forward – while also taking time to think with like-minded leaders, share ideas as well as worries and concerns. The traditionally five-day course has been running for 12 years, with

hundreds of senior leaders from across the East Midlands and beyond attending, but this year there’s been a new approach as the programme has switched to both face-to-face and online sessions. Learners can now pace themselves over several weeks or months on the

modular programme, enabling them to “have a go” back at work and then return to discuss outcomes with their peers. Vicki Thompson, business training manager at the Chamber, said: “Taking

time out regularly to reflect can be as good for you as a great night’s sleep – yet how often do business leaders take this opportunity? “Information overload can leave you stressed, drained and prone to poor

decision-making. Reflection time gives people the opportunity to consider their experiences, think about it, evaluate it and improve your future performance and that of your business.” The first face-to-face delivery of the Director Development Programme

starts on 20 October and runs over five days at the Chamber’s Nottingham office under social distancing measures. Craig Harbron, mechanical design engineer at Loughborough-based engineering consultancy Bennett Engineering, has previously taken part in the programme. He said: “It’s been highly motivating and inspiring. I was optimistic that something good would come out of attending the programme but I had no idea that my level of motivation would be as great

or that I would learn so much in those days. In that respect, it has been a phenomenal experience.” Alternatively, the Chamber has also redesigned the programme for online

delivery, which has been welcomed by delegates attending throughout June and July. Running over ten half-day sessions, the programme has proven that

online delivery via Zoom can be as inspiring and supportive as face-to-face. Richard Hewitt, production manager at Codel International, had

previously worked with trainer Charles Barnascone in the face-to-face sessions. He added: “Charles is able to keep the material engaging and insightful by promoting group discussions. The range of topics tackled by the course is extensive and it has really helped me gain a useful insight into areas of my company that I previously thought did not need to concern me. “As a whole, I would say that undertaking this course has had a tangible

impact on the way I operate within the senior management structure, but also with my direct reports and team members.”

To book onto the face-to-face Director Development Programmes, please visit

If you are not yet ready to go back to the training room, please book onto our online programme at

There is also the opportunity for a free online taster session with trainer Charles Barnascone. Details can be found at

Training academy opens its doors once more

Face-to-face learning is back on the agenda at GBS Apprenticeships after the training provider marked its 10th birthday by reopening its Chesterfield academy. Toby Perkins, the Labour MP for

Chesterfield, cut the ribbon as the company welcomed back learners for the first time in almost four months on 16 July. The company – a specialist

training provider in the digital, and leadership and management sectors – had switched its operation to online learning when national Covid-19 lockdown was imposed on 23 March. Penny Guard, co-founder of the

family-run company and its director for quality, called it a “key milestone” for GBS. She said: “Although recent

events have meant a slight shift in The closure gave the company

the chance to create two new units within the building. Apprenticeships have been

identified as critical to the UK’s economic recovery by the Government, which will reward every business that takes on an apprentice aged 16 to 24 with a £2,000 fee as part of its £2bn Kickstart Scheme. Toby said: “In terms of the

The team at GBS in the new training academy

delivery, the team has worked hard to ensure we are still delivering high-quality training to the future workforce, and we hope we can continue to support young people back into work and ensuring employers have the right

54 business network August/September 2020

skillsets within their businesses to thrive.” GBS provides apprenticeships,

commercial training, e-learning and consultancy services to both national and local learners from its Chesterfield headquarters.

economic challenges that are facing the country at the moment, apprenticeships have never been more important. “To have an organisation based

here in Chesterfield that is performing on the national stage, and on the local stage, providing excellent quality learning for young people around the town and bringing the next generation through is exactly what we want.”

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