Please forgive me going all poppy on you and for changing a word in the impressive Tina Turner song.  Haywards Heath is an interesting town to live in if you dig a bit!  For example we have an Annual Art Trail – this is a walk around the town to look at different pieces of art.  The organisers managed to persuade Guy Portelli to display a sculpture from his Pop Icon collection.  This tribute to The Who is currently on a major roundabout in the town.

Guy gave a talk on his life as an artist and what it was like to be on Dragon’s Den.  As Guy was talking I was struck by the similarities between art and business.  He is an excellent example of art and entrepreneurship as even whilst he was studying he was seeing business opportunities.  He was quite controversial and advised students not to pay homage to their tutors as although this would get them a good result for their qualification it would not help them to earn a living when they left college.  He emphasised the real value of practical experience instead.

It got me thinking about our candidates who have practical experience and need to get it recognised.  To me the important bit is linking what you do because it “makes sense” with the academic theory, it gives you a real light bulb moment.  The blend of experience and knowledge is essential for any competent worker and yet why do we make it so difficult for our people.

For example take management development – how many of you have sat in a classroom and learnt all about motivational theory and performance management and then never been asked to apply the learning back at work.  I believe that classroom learning is a luxury that we should use for vital skills development and not knowledge transfer.  Getting people together to practice a new skill in safe surroundings is critical.  There are other and more cost effective methods to give our people knowledge.

Our Coaching and Mentoring Programme is a classic example.  As in six or eight workshops depending on whether you are doing the Certificate or Diploma you will have this blend of skills practice and learning from doing and reflecting.  We keep the groups small deliberately so that the facilitators have the time to spend on you!  We are busy gathering names for the next programme so visit our website and contact us to hear how we offer this challenging programme.

For those of you close to London we have two Circle of Peers Casuals, one on 22nd April and one on 6th May from 17:00 onwards at the Wine Bar in the Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall.