As part of the GMCA Blue Light Academy, staff at GMFRS (Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service) and NWAS (North West Ambulance Service) have enrolled on courses related to Leadership and Management. Lewis Jeffery, a Watch Manager for GMFRS, completed a Business Finance course, whilst Charlotte Crowshaw, a Supervisor in the HCP department at NWAS, completed the Compassionate Leadership option.

The two learners had very different motivations for choosing to enrol on the courses, with Lewis explaining his reasons for doing so: “The last piece of learning and development that I completed was my degree, which I finished in 2019, and then somebody mentioned at work that these courses were available. I wanted to do something a bit different and I had always wished I had done a Business course when I was at school, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try the course with Seetec Outsource.”

Meanwhile, Charlotte’s motivation was much more to do with the responsibilities of her current role: “I’m always on the lookout for development opportunities, and if things are fully-funded, even better! Compassionate Management ended up being exactly the right course for me. I’m fairly new to my role and to the industry, as I previously worked as cabin crew for twenty years, and it fitted perfectly with the skills I needed on a day-to-day basis.”

Both Lewis and Charlotte completed their courses in a few weeks at the beginning of this year and they explained how they managed to fit in the learning alongside their busy work schedules. Charlotte said: “They were very accommodating. Our course tutor made sure that she booked in the workshops around our shifts and schedules. As long as I made sure I had time to complete any coursework during the week, there was no issue at all. The flexibility was a real bonus!”

Lewis added: “My experience was very similar. I’m quite fortunate in that in my role, I can manage my own time and workload, so the learning could fit quite easily with my schedule, but the process was incredibly smooth and straightforward.”

Charlotte was keen to talk about how the training directly applied to her day-to-day responsibilities: “Everything we did gave me an understanding of how other people work within the organisation, so it gave me a bigger picture of how other factors influence my role. The most interesting part was when we started reflecting on how we could become better leaders; things like being a good role model and always doing the right thing at the right time. The course has made me aware of how to make a decision both for the good of myself and for the organisation.”

In contrast, Lewis’s course was less relevant to his current role, but rather allowed him to plan for the future: “I do want to progress up the ranks during my career and the course content will come in handy for all these future opportunities. It was all brand-new to me, it was a completely different area to learn about, and this meant it was really interesting throughout.”

Finally, Lewis added: “As part of our line management, we do regular appraisals and during those meetings, we discuss development. I would definitely point my colleagues towards the GMCA Blue Light Academy courses as I’m sure they would find something that was relevant to them and their ambitions.”

To find out more about the Blue Light Academy programme, click the link here.

Skills for Growth is funded through the European Social Fund and aims to plug the skills gaps in priority sectors across Greater Manchester as outlined in the Combined Authority’s Local Industrial Strategy.