Our colleagues thrive... 

because we future proof our talent.

First Central’s great at encouraging personal and professional growth. It’s a no brainer. And, our approach isn’t only about boosting our colleagues’ satisfaction and sense of achievement. It’s an important factor, of course it is. But, developing our people’s skills is critical for the business. 

Their continuous progression feeds into so many of the drivers that push us towards achieving our strategy, we can’t succeed without it. Developing our people creates exceptional colleague and customer experiences. It helps us maximise the value we squeeze out of our data and tech. It means we can run our business expertly so we grow sustainably and profitably. Whichever way you look at it, talented people power our performance. We build a positive future for them which opens up opportunities that benefit everyone. Simple. 

That’s why the theme of this year’s Learning at Work Week (LAW), ‘Create the Future’, ticked all the boxes. The Campaign for Learning’s annual event is all about building workplace learning cultures; it especially promotes the importance of continuous learning and development. 2023’s three themes excited us because they echoed important steps we’ve been taking: 

Think future

How can we create spaces that help and inspire us to explore and imagine our futures, where we can try out and learn new things that can help make these a reality?  

Our Achieving Leadership Potential (ALP) programme’s just one of the ways colleagues can steer themselves towards a career with greater responsibility and impact. It gives first-hand learning experiences to enhance the skills and behaviours an effective First Central leader needs. It’s a carefully structured, effective, blended offering. We would say that, wouldn’t we? But, it’s not a subjective point of view. Our Aspiring Leaders course has already been approved by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

It doesn’t stop there either. The Elevating Leadership curriculum we’ve established has also been attracting attention (in a good way…) The ILM’s praised the quality of its content and the standards of leadership development it achieves. Its accrediting team said, 

“This is an impressive, professional, well-structured programme. So much thought has gone into this, and it shows. They know exactly what they want and how to achieve it.”

Future fit

What do we need to be future fit? How can we use lifelong learning to help us and our communities be healthier, financially resilient, and more sustainable? What do we need to think about to ensure we have a good foundation for a future in which we will be living and working longer? 

At First Central we know people want more than a job. They come to us to be part of a vibrant community, to thrive alongside like-minded, ambitious colleagues. And, with the blurring of work and home in the post-Covid world, we know they’re looking to evolve, to pick up new talents and aptitudes in all areas of their lives. So, we share information about financial planning. We raise awareness of environmental issues and explain how we’re supporting initiatives towards a sustainable future. Our Wellbeing strategy delivers tons of material to promote good health. Not only physical but mental and emotional. 

Future skills 

What are the tools, techniques, knowledge and skills that can help us and First Central achieve our short and longer-term goals and aspirations and help us create the futures we'd like? How can we acquire the learning building blocks and constantly refresh our skills, so we can adapt and flourish? 

We’re keen to make sure everyone at First Central can play an active role in their career development. It makes sense. Who better to take ownership than the person most affected? Want more responsibility? A change in direction? To understand other areas of the business or to be the very best at what you do? 

We’re working on an exciting initiative that’ll  help people answer these questions. The First Central Career HUB will record colleagues’ skills, suggest connections, provide project opportunities and give personalised learning ideas. It’ll be a multidiscipline, knowledge swap shop! We’re currently trialling the self-serve system so we can launch later this year. It’s a great way to nurture growth within (or even beyond) current roles and stretch potential. 

Director of Performance Andy Tacey, the Career HUB project sponsor, is positive its impact will be remarkable:

“The next and exciting evolution in our colleague journey is to put more power into the hands of colleagues, so they can truly own and drive their development. This is a dynamic and interactive way of identifying opportunities for colleagues to link new learning opportunities, mentors, experts and development experiences.”

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