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Ten questions for a training manager – Vivienne Morris, Rail Gourmet


In a new feature, TrainingZONE asks training managers to describe their personal experiences of what the role of Training Manager or Training Officer involves. Below, Vivienne Moris of Rail Gourmet gives her answers.

1. How did you come to work in training?

My first job from Uni was as a hotel manager - not quite what I expected to do after studying History and Classics. There I had to do a lot of staff training... and found that I liked it. I moved company and into a training officer role 4 years ago. Got myself a masters and progressed to my current position just over 1 year ago.

2. Describe your role.

I am head of Training Development and Quality and lead a small team, delivering solutions across all business areas. I concern myself mainly with strategy decisions, management development and the general duties that go with managing a department, i.e. Developing my team, developing and managing budgets etc.

3. What activities use most of your time?

Most time is spent on developing strategy, meeting with key stake holders, and liasing with team to deliver solutions.

4. Is training in your organisation mainly organised according to a strategic plan, or mainly arranged when a need has become evident?

A little of both. I do have a strategic plan that is singed off by the board at the beginning of the year. With in that is built flexibility to deal with issues that may arise without warning.

5. Is any of your training accredited by external bodies?

Only the food safety training which is accredited by the CIEH.

6. Do you feel that training has a high enough profile in your organisation?

YES – too high.. I am kidding of course, but the importance of the department is seen as key to the success of the business. If it was not, we would not have one.

7. How do you demonstrate the value of your department to your organisation?

Various methods:
- Monetary Evaluation
- Customer feedback mechanisms
- Monthly reporting to exec board

8. What influences do you think have had the greatest impact on the training sector in recent years?

- Dwindling margins have made training need to be more accountable

- Technology has reduced the number of training personnel needed in my company and increased the availability of resources and networks.

9. Do you think that training professionals should have a greater say in planning national training policy?

I am not really concerned.

10. How do you see your work changing or developing in the next few years?

I am becoming less of a trainer and more of strategic businessperson with excellent facilitation skills. Businesses will neither want nor tolerate stand up trainers brought in as and when from specialised consultancies.

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