Member Spotlight – Andrew Cumiskey

In the next in this bi monthly feature we hear the thoughts and opinions of Andrew Cumiskey.

What does the changing nature of Learning & Development mean for L&D professionals?

As important as it had always been; continuous professional development (CPD) is essential to stay on top of changing learning preferences. Simply becoming qualified isn’t enough, you must continue to keep close to new technology as the new generation of learners enter the workplace. While the principles of learning may not change, a wider range of delivery methods may be available but having a mix of old and new may keep a mixed worldwide happy. As always, keeping the L&D department closely aligned to the businesses strategic objectives will ensure value is being added.
What in your opinion are the most effective ways of encouraging staff to become self-directed learners?

Ask yourself… What’s in it for me? There’s always a reason why people choose to pick up a book, log on a website or sign up to a Mook. Look to remove the barriers such as providing employees tablet pc when they join (the business case isn’t hard to justify worth the cost of a cheap tablet versus releasing someone for a days classroom training). Appeal all learning styles by pointing people to various resources, set up working groups, or build online forums. The majority can be achieved at little or no cost. Use real examples how learning about something had a positive impact.

There has been a great deal of publicity and conversation around MOOC’s this past 18 months – what do you think the future look like for MOOC’s?

MOOCs are a great way for people to learn with minimal commitment. They are often free to attend with some companies offering a small fee to complete a subsequent exam and/or obtain a certificate. MOOCs will no doubt form an important method of on-demand learning in an environment where social learning is becoming more important. Like with many things, it’s important for a L&D department to make the right choices and spend the time to check out the subject matter knowledge and relevance before recommendation. The future may see more of MOOCs, although I suspect they will become more integrated with social media so learning takes place without consciously signing up.

Is Learning and Development going through an evolution or a revolution?

L&D has to evolve to continue to add value to the business. Delivery methods must to match changing cultures and technology, however the principles will remain and will often need to be revisited. It’s a cycle that will continue but every now and then will take a few sidesteps to realign and remind us off the basics. With all the technology in the world if the learner doesn’t learn anything, why do it? Don’t be afraid to go back to basics with a flip chart and pen (however, you will be forgiven for leaving the OHP in the loft).

Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?

I am generally informed through professional bodies such as the LPI and CIPD. I attend regular CPD events to keep my self up to date, both locally and nationally. These also provide an opportunity for networking which is a valuable way of understanding the challenges other companies are facing which can give toy an insight into something you may encounter or allow toy to share best practice of a similar situation got haute overcome. Social media them forms my other main source of information partially linkedin.

What advice would you give to someone looking to take up a career in learning?

For those considering a career in learning I would encourage you to do so (of course, I am biast!). However, I do believe it presents many opportunities depending what your preference is. L&D allows you to be innovative, specialise, or be a good all rounder depending on the role you are in. You may move into a strategic role; you may love delivering training; you may be drawn to the satisfaction of taking a difficult topic and turning it into easy to use engaging creating engaging training materials, or maybe your are an expert at coding and build e-learning or an LMS?

About Andrew

Andrew Cumiskey, Head of Training and Recruitment for Swissport Limited, providing aviation services across UK and Ireland. Andrew progressed over the last ten years from a operational trainer, to a site training manager and now leads learning, development and Recruitment for the UK and Ireland workforce division of Swissport with approximately 27 sites and 10,000 staff.

Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn



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