The session began with a question. Civil Service Learning’s Graham Vale asked how often members of the audience used the Civil Service Learning portal. While a brave few admitted they had never used it, most said they only accessed the site when they had to, whether for half-yearly or annual reviews. So it was clear from the start that most staff are not making the most of the website to up-skill themselves and further their development.
The purpose of Civil Service Learning is to enable the development of Civil Service capability by providing quality learning and development that gives value for money, and supports the delivery of excellent public service.
The portal supports this aim and includes on-line learning, recognised qualifications and specialist e-books. The variety is surprising – 185 e-learning modules and 141 common curriculum face-to-face courses are included in 5,898 individual learning resources.
Contributions from the audience made it clear that some people have strong preferences on how they receive their learning, and highlighted other methods, such as job shadowing, the Civil Service Local Academy, bite-sized desk sessions and coaching. But the message was: whatever method you prefer, make sure you take every opportunity to improve.
John Hunter from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in Liverpool said:
Attending the discovery session for Civil Service Learning gave me a great insight into the vast e-learning resources and qualifications available to all civil servants online.
However, the highlight for me has been meeting staff face-to-face, learning about other departmental cultures and resources, voluntary secondments and collaborative working through project delivery.
John’s views were echoed by Anne Marie Wiseman from the Department for Work and Pensions in Birkenhead who said she liked the sound of the initiatives that different departments are involved in, and hearing about them has encouraged her to get involved.
The networking side of it appeals to me, getting to know more about what HMRC are doing in communities, that’s interesting.
DWP is very keen for people to take up their five days’ development, and so we’re encouraged regularly to go on Civil Service Learning to see what’s there. As someone mentioned here today, ‘time-permitting’ is always a key factor for anyone’s usage of anything, but our department is really keen that people do take it up.”
The message from the discovery session was that we owe it to ourselves to improve, whether that's by taking courses or networking with colleagues from other Civil Service departments. The opportunities are out there - go and find them!