At this time of the year we celebrate Learning at Work Week, but with the Covid-19 situation, it has been moved to October and instead, this week we’re celebrating Online Learning at Work Week.
We all know why learning and development (L&D) is important, but I want to focus on the great opportunities available to us here, in MoJ Digital and Technology and how it’s personally helped me in my career over the years.
I’ve been a Civil Servant for 25 years and I have to say we are fortunate to have a leadership team that values L&D and professional growth. All MoJ staff are entitled to spend a minimum of five days on L&D a year and here in D&T we go a step further by supporting this with 10% of our available time available! There are a number of ways to use this time, including attending workshops, online courses, job shadowing or even joining our mentoring programme. It is just a matter of choosing what suits you best.
I have regular conversations with my manager about my L&D requirements and it’s this ongoing professional development that has helped me perform better at my role. I have a mentor as well, who I speak to monthly and we discuss my professional growth and how I can reach my full potential.
I’ve also done some work-based learning and job shadowing, which I highly recommend as it gives you a great opportunity to build a deeper understanding and knowledge of other roles. All these forms of learning helped to boost my confidence and allowed me to make a transition from my role in Recruitment to my current role in Learning and Development.
I know everyone learns and absorbs information in different ways, so a ‘one size fits all’ approach to L&D just doesn’t work but, we’ve got plenty of options to choose from so if you’re new or haven’t looked at your L&D in a while, I would recommend Civil Service Learning (CSL) as a good place to start.
The GDS Knowledge Pool Catalogue and Government Digital Service training courses are also other options which include many opportunities for members to take advantage of, including some Microsoft courses.
For our technical colleagues, I also manage these platforms, which come highly recommended by their users:
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
- The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS)
- Pluralsight and
- WIG (Whitehall and Industry Group) membership
“But I don’t have the time!” This is something I hear quite often and have been guilty of saying it myself. However, the day I stopped thinking of L&D as an additional thing to do along with my job and made it part of my role, it became slightly easier. If you’re feeling the same way, maybe some of the below tips might be useful:
- Making time - block some time in your calendar and speak to your team about this, so they know you’ll be dedicating that time to your L&D.
- Make learning a habit - build learning into your weekly routine to create a positive, long lasting change.
- Managing distractions - this can be tricky, especially now as some of us who are parents have kids at home with us. Set tasks for them to do so you know they’ll be occupied when you’re focusing on your learning. Perhaps when they’re doing PE with Joe Wicks in the morning?
- Mentoring - this isn’t a tip about creating time but a suggestion on how to use your time. Investing your time in a mentoring programme can help you understand where you can develop, so if you’re struggling for example with an online course, try speaking to a mentor instead to have an open conversation about how you can further your development.
Learning and development in the workplace should be ongoing, but if you’ve not had the chance to focus on it for a while, please use this week to make a start. Any time spent learning something new is never time wasted. So speak to your manager regularly about your L&D requirements and please feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to discuss any of the learning schemes/platforms mentioned above.