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Baking the perfect training event

allied bakeries logoAllied Bakeries is one of three divisions of Allied Milling and Baking, part of Associated British Foods plc, a major international business with a turnover of £11.1bn and close to 102,000 employees across 46 countries. The organisation produces well known brands such as Kingsmill, Burgen, Allinson and Sunblest.

Wickland Westcott regularly designs and delivers assessment processes for Allied Bakeries, and recently we were approached by Dee Walsh, Head of Learning & Development, who was looking for support in the creation of a set of best practice guidelines. The aim of this work was to ensure consistency in the roll-out of training programmes both at head office and locally at the sites. Specifically, the key deliverables of this project included:

  • Engaging with key stakeholders to ensure buy-in to the training programmes
  • Identifying examples of best practice to be shared and poor practice to be improved
  • Evaluating the consistency with which training courses were delivered
  • Defining the principles of what effective training ‘looks like’
  • Developing simple, clear and comprehensive training guidelines to be used across the organisation

The project involved completing desk research reviewing the latest empirical literature to identify top quality training and development interventions, and gathering market insights. We also spoke with a range of subject matter experts from across Allied Bakeries to understand what was working well/less well, and to gather their thoughts on what the best practice guidelines should include. A further source of data was Wickland Westcott’s own expertise obtained from designing and implementing progressive development interventions across a wide range of blue-chip organisations over many years.

Having completed this thorough data gathering process we then designed a comprehensive set of training best practice guidelines, closely aligned to Allied Bakeries culture. This document included ‘how to’ guides on what to do before (e.g. engaging with stakeholders and defining the criteria for success), during (e.g. accommodating different learning styles) and after (e.g. evaluation) the training takes place. Once finalised, these user friendly guides were produced with Allied Bakeries branding, ready to be rolled out across the organisation.

Dee Walsh, Head of Learning and Development commented:

“Our aim with this project was to up-skill the range of individuals across the business who are involved in training. With budgets being challenged our emphasis is on utilising the knowledge and skill we have in our business to train others on and off the job. In doing this, we wanted to set out some standards and practical guidelines to facilitate best practice across the training cycle. Laura was a pleasure to work with in helping us achieve our aim and we are really pleased with the results”.