It's Martyn Sloman's swansong, as he leaves the CIPD this month for pastures new. He cites critics' CIPD-bashing as one of the few lowlights of the job that he loves, and is critical of Ken Blanchard in this farewell Spotlight. Members can wish Martyn well as he continues on his own developmental path by posting a comment at the end of this piece.
Job title: Departing adviser, learning training and development, CIPD. About to become a Visiting Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
Brief description of the job that you do:
Researching, writing and speaking on learning and training
1. Why did you become an adviser at the CIPD?
In 1984 I was working at the National Coal Board as an economist and was appointed to a teaching role at the industry's staff college. It was a way of getting promotion – not a conscious decision on a vocation. It was a great move for me. I come from a South Wales family with 'schoolteacher values' and loved the job.
2. What do you love best about your job?
Encouraging people to learn is thoroughly worthwhile. It gives people self-respect and self-confidence.
3. What do you find most challenging?
Dealing with the CIPD's critics. There's a place for intelligent debate and disagreement, but there's far too much unthinking and ill-informed CIPD bashing. The work that the colleges do in taking people through our qualifications is of great benefit to a lot of people. Seeking to undermine that qualification is a shabby thing to do – and damages the profession as a whole.
4. What's the best advice that you would give to someone new to the training community?
Keep learning – and do the qualification.
5. What's the best advice that's been given to you that has helped you in your career?
Following a redundancy from NatWest Markets I benefitted from the support of Ron Owen of the then Sanders and Sidney outplacement organisation. He encouraged me to follow my more academic tendencies.
6. How do you see learning, training and development changing over the next few years?
We must recognise and manage the shift from training to learning. Trainers are no longer the sun around which learner planets revolve. We must seek to understand the starting point of the learner and focus on engagement and commitment.
7. What's the best career help book that you've ever read?
I don't go much on careers books. You need to take advice and think it through yourself.
8. What's the best event within the training community that you've ever attended?
The South African IPM event is so inspiring. Having marched against apartheid to see it all come together is marvellous. I wish my father could have been alive to see it.
9. Who do you think is the most inspirational member of the training community and have you ever met them?
I've a great deal of time for Peter Honey and Andrew Mayo and know them well. I have least respect for Ken Blanchard who backed out of a commitment to come to a London conference because the Iraq war was taking place and shortly afterwards co-authored a book entitled 'Lead like Jesus'- I've met him too.
10. What else would you like to share with our members?
Training, learning and development can only increase in importance. Enjoy the job.
To read Martyn Sloman's feature 'Elearning: Haven't we been here before?', click here.