Published on May 2, 2022

As a staff member at North Hertfordshire College or in the Hart Learning Group, there are many opportunities for you to grow and develop in your role – both through the experiences you encounter and through formal training opportunities. For example, we run an internal training programme called STARS which provides our team members with the skills and tools they need to prepare for leadership roles and for handling more responsibility within the Group. 

Two members of staff who have recently completed this programme are Matthew Pocock (HR Advisor) and Daniel Coombes (Management Apprenticeship Tutor & IQA). We sat down with them to find out more about their experiences!  

How did the STARS programme fit alongside your day job? 

D: “For me, I continued to work within my current role and had lots of notice for the sessions which were all organised for within business hours. My manager was very flexible in allowing me to arrange my diary around the sessions.” 

M: “This course involved a creative enquiry project in a team, so the division of labour in that project was key for us to have clear manageable actions to complete to fit around our normal day jobs. Although at times I did complete some work outside of my core hours, by clearly defining the actions as a team, I found the workload manageable.” 

What was the best bit about the course? 

M: “A highlight for me was the 1-2-1 coaching session with a professional coach and leader in the industry. I also really enjoyed the data analysis part of our project and presenting our findings to SMT, and seeing my ideas be listened to.” 

D: “I agree, I also enjoyed the coaching. It was so thought-provoking and really helped me to develop and confirm the areas I wanted to develop in. I also loved the group sessions, where we talked about ideas and thoughts and shared views and opinions. Gary, our programme manager, presented us with a variety of points but allowed us time to reflect and review on these.” 

Have you noticed any changes in the way you work as a result of the course you completed? 

M: “I’ve noticed that I’ve developed in a range of ways, my time and project management skills have improved, as well as my ability to present information concisely. I’ve also been able to network with people outside of my immediate team, which has been good. My confidence has definitely grown as a result of the programme, because I designed the surveys and completed the analysis myself, which were all key to the project. In terms of my role, I’ve now taken on additional project responsibility around operational duties.” 

D: “This course has provided me with a platform to consider a variety of different ways to tackle different situations, allowing me to embrace issues and challenges that I had previously shied away from. I am now a lot more calm, composed, and confident when dealing with potentially difficult issues. I feel ready to enquire about challenging situations and happy to have the more demanding conversations, as a result of the options I’ve learnt through this course. Now, I hold an extra part-time IQA role within the College, alongside my original management role!” 

What would you say to other staff members about this course? 

M: “This programme really helps to grow your confidence and you feel that you are helping to tackle those bigger picture challenges for the organisation that we don’t get to do necessarily within our everyday roles. I was really pleased that SMT took forward the recommendations that came out of our report. It made us feel valued and that we were contributing directly to the goals of the organisation.” 

D: “I would really recommend this course to other staff members. This course is not about writing lots of essays, but rather about looking at what can help you develop in your role. It has really helped me to understand where I want to go in my career.” 

Finally, what do you like about working in the Hart Learning Group? 

M: “I like that there is a wide team of dedicated professionals with a range of skills and experience. When working as a group as part of this programme to tackle an organisational change challenge, the variety of staff from different backgrounds was key.” 

D: “I also think it’s great that there are so many different roles across the Group. Taking part in this course has helped me to get a better insight into the roles of other colleagues across the Group.” 


Work with the Hart Learning Group

We think all jobs in education are some of the most important and fulfilling jobs in the world – helping people realise their potential and build a life for themselves; helping businesses to grow and improve; and helping to build strong, vibrant communities. 

If you share our passion, we want to hear from you – check out our available vacancies and come and join the team!