Bett Show: Learning and development crucial to business survival

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Bett Show: Learning and development crucial to business survival

Kayleigh Bateman

Companies need to react to changes in learning and development (L&D) or face failure, education industry leaders said at the Bett Show.

Taking place at the London Excel Centre, this week, the show kicked off with Baroness Susan Greenfield, scientist, writer and broadcaster, saying: “Technology itself is not the answer – it’s how we use it.”

Building upon this idea Richard Waters, group head of learning and development at recruitment firm Hays, said: “Change is happening and you can either sit back and ignore it or move forward. We point out examples of companies like HMV, to show which businesses did not react to change.”

Waters said investing in growth and innovation does not mean job cuts, as some people fear.

Maggie Bolger, lead learning and development commissioner at National Offender Management Service, said: “To find a trail blazer you need to shift your thinking. You have to be reflective in your thinking. We are shifting towards being a learning organisation.

“It is important to think about where you need to be as a business and finding the right staff with the right skills to get there. Then comes the innovation part.”

Alison Young, director at Pearson, said to improve L&D companies need to move it out of cognitive learning.“If you do not, you are always going to get similar answers to what you’re asking. Instead you can help leaders develop more somatic and emotional roles by getting them out of their heads and into their bodies.”

Young said she had had discussions with several speakers at the Bett Show and they had all admitted that E-learning has its place as part of a learning strategy, but is not very exciting: “What excites me is the use of technology through social learning, peer learning and informal learning. Learn with your peers, give feedback and ratings of your ideas. Connecting communities of interest and learning through media.”

Jane Daly, head of learning and development at Marks and Spencer head office, said the company tries not to call it L&D, so it is aligned with the business completely.


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