In March Civil Service Local North West (CSNW) held its first ever Alumni event at Greater Manchester’s Fire and Rescue Service Training Centre to celebrate the achievements of current students and recent graduates of ILM Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership.
The CSNW regional lead Andy Ashworth welcomed the hardworking civil servants and congratulated them on their hard work on the course, and in turn helping to build the capability of their myriad government departments across the Civil Service.
Following an entertaining icebreaker with DWP Team Manager and Alumni event co-organiser Terri, guests were treated to an Inspirational Storytelling speech from Nagesh, DWP’s Director of the Work and Health Programme, who joined the Civil Service straight from university more than twenty years ago and has proudly occupied every grade across several departments, on the way to the top.
Nagesh began his career in his early 20’s as someone who in his own words was so nervous around senior ministers that he could barely remember his own name. His nerves improved with time but he told attendees that each time he moved jobs he has initially doubted himself and sees this as a normal part of the process. He advised Alumni that to help overcome such personal challenges, they should surround themselves with a strong network of friends, family and colleagues to help them through the hard times.
Nagesh’s other tips included carefully considering which jobs to apply for in order to achieve specific career goals, making your network of colleagues as wide as possible, maintaining your work/life balance, and acquiring a good mentor. (To see how Civil Service Local can help with this, please see the end of the feature.)
Our next speaker, DWP Service Centre Manager Danny, delivered an Interactive Transformational Leadership session, stressing the importance of strong, clear communication.
Danny advised that when giving an instruction, managers should ensure staff know the reason why, as we all have an intrinsic need to understand the reason behind an action. He also urged Alumni to think about what they can do differently and advised that it’s important to hold your nerve against doubters when reviewing established processes, even when there may be a chance of short-term dips in performance while changes settle in. After all, as Henry Ford once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”.
Commercial Director Mark and Trainer, Isabel of Damar Training, who provided the qualification, were also in attendance to thank the students and graduates of the programme for their impressive work. Mark advised of the importance of good management, voicing his belief that it is necessary to invest in all staff with or without degrees.
Isabel advised that ILM Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership is unique in being available to all government departments, which provides the benefit of allowing staff to learn from a wide range of skills acquired in different fields and business areas. They also advised that one third of the programme’s graduates have since gained promotion.
Our final speaker, Sharon from HMRC’s Capabilities team, decided on taking the course after asking herself two personal questions: “What will I gain?” and “Can I do it?”
On taking the plunge Sharon said it required a high degree of self-motivation but that now, having successfully graduated, she is much better at writing concise reports, finding salient points in research materials with greater ease, and determining benefits realisation in the business.
Sharon said the course has greatly improved her confidence and advised that even two years ago she would have struggled to lead a national project, as she now does, or give a speech to a room full of people, summing up her experience by reaching out to others who may also be considering a professional qualification.
“If anyone is thinking of taking a course like this, all I’d say to them is this: Take a leap of faith and enjoy the ride.”
Civil Service Local’s ‘People Connections’ programme is the perfect resource to help you volunteer as, or find a mentor. For more information please contact Jo Nunnerley