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Subject Area: Learning and Development
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Article citation: , (2012) "Talent-forming scheme responds to the AAs needs", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 44 Iss: 2, pp. -
The AA, a UK vehicle-rescue service, has introduced a “grow your own” talent-development scheme.
The company formerly recruited middle managers through an external agency. To find a lasting solution to the problem, the AA partnered Acua – an organization created from an employer-engagement project established by Coventry University.
Acua specializes in improving organizational performance by developing leadership and management skills in the workplace. It worked with the AA to launch the AA leadership program, designed to encourage future leaders among the workforce.
The program, a regional winner in the National Training Awards, began with 28 team managers who were based in the call center. Participants had to impress through a series of interviews to earn a place on the course.
The 12-month program was built around a framework of three modules – managing personal performance, managing performance and quality, and organizational culture and change. It was designed to be work-based, making it more convenient.
A range of interactive learning methods was used to teach the course. In addition, the program involved an Acua business coach delivering on-site at the AA to work in the organization to give follow-up support and ensure that all learning was applied in the workplace
Every participant who completed it was awarded a higher-education certificate and an NVQ Level 3 in management. The program was part funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
Sarah Worton, project manager (organizational development) at Acua, said: “Trainee performance and behavior have significantly improved since the AA implemented the program. Managers have reported increased planning ability and better decision making as a result of participant studies. There has also been improved time management and increased levels of engagement in business problem-solving.”
All participants were successful. They can now enroll on a foundation degree, if they wish to continue their learning.
Senior executives of the AA have been pleased with the program and now have a pool of talent to choose from. “With a 100 percent completion rate and with 78 percent of participants seconded to a more senior role, the program has delivered a considerable return on investment,” said Sarah Worton.
The management-development manager at the AA, Janet Craig, remarked: “The AA leadership program has significantly affected the organization to an extent where it has evoked cultural change. Learning is no longer seen as a ‘stand alone’ classroom event. It has now shifted towards learner-driven, highly participative, long-term investment in teams.”