More and more merchants are recognising the advantages of bespoke in-house training — particularly if they have a number of employees with similar training needs.
While the BMF offers a wide variety of “off the peg” courses, it also works with members who have a particular training need to help them navigate the bespoke route. Having discussed what they are trying to achieve, the BMF will identify an appropriate specialist trainer who then works directly with the merchant to create an exclusive course for their staff.
One company who found great value in this approach is Crossling Plumbing and Pipeline Merchants. Operating from 14 branches, Crossling is the north of England’s largest independent plumbing and pipeline specialists. Founded 150 years ago and still privately-owned, staff development is an important driver to support its growing business.
Earlier this year, Crossling identified a management and leadership training need for two of its managers and quickly recognised that this would be an opportunity to include a wider cohort of recently or soon to be promoted team members within the same programme. The business just had to find a suitable course for 10 delegates, ranging from supervisors to branch managers.
Having successfully used the BMF’s Selling Skills training courses previously, the BMF was once again Crossling’s first port of call. Its initial discussions with the BMF highlighted that the people attending the course would not relate to a “death by Powerpoint” training approach. Instead, they needed to be actively engaged in the programme — and the BMF knew that Sue Reed would be the ideal person for the job.
With the trainer identified and connection made, Andrew Bell, Crossling’s Distribution Manager was able to discuss the company’s desired outcomes directly with Sue and select the most applicable elements from a range of options presented. The trainer was also briefed on the company’s culture, with background briefings on each of the delegates and why they would find the course helpful at this stage of their development.
Andrew explained: “Working directly with Sue enabled Crossling to create an exclusive three-day management and leadership programme, which not only provided the best fit for the business but was also pitched at a level that suited all delegates — no mean feat as the group was diverse in terms of job roles and leadership experience.”
Andrew admits that going down the bespoke route required a fair degree of input from the business, but he is committed to helping others develop, just as he was supported at an earlier stage in his career. Ultimately, he found working with the trainer to design an exclusive Crossling programme and create content that was applicable to all possible delegates highly satisfying.
“The interactive presentation style proved particularly popular and I can see delegates using the techniques and problem-solving methods they were taught. We will definitely repeat the course for others and will only tweak it if we need to better fit the roles of the next cohort of delegates.”
Although the programme was a significant investment for the business, the company is not viewing it as a one-off, but something that can be run again and again.
“The feedback has been extremely positive,” said Andrew. “The interactive presentation style proved particularly popular and I can see delegates using the techniques and problem-solving methods they were taught. We will definitely repeat the course for others and will only tweak it if we need to better fit the roles of the next cohort of delegates.”
BMF training ranges from formal Apprenticeships and sector-specific Diplomas and a Foundation Degree in Merchant Management, to on-line product knowledge and other specialist skills training.
For more information on any aspect of BMF training contact firstname.lastname@example.org on 02456 854980, or visit www.bmf.org.uk/training