Building skills and encouraging staff development has been key to the success of The Women’s Organisation for the last 22 years, so when the opportunity came up to be part of a new programme supporting just that we jumped at the chance!

Our team full of new ideas and inspiration

Advice Skills Academy is an innovative programme bringing together the Citizen’s Advice services from across the city region in partnership with The Women’s Organisation to co-ordinate learning and development opportunities specifically for those working in the advice sector. 

Through Advice Skills Academy, which is part funded by European Social Fund, our team have benefited from a number of tailored training sessions, but have also been offered encouragement to take up independent learning and development opportunities.

This ‘Learning at Work’ week we’ve added some extra activities and given extra encouragement to the team to ensure we can maximise the opportunity to invest in the great staff we have here.

Maggie John, Cynthia and Laura from our team examine the Business Model Canvas

Learning at Work Week Signage

As part of this our team enjoyed a brilliant session looking at using the ‘Business Model Canvas’ as a tool for both organisational development and a to offer advice and guidance to those looking to start or grow a business. 

The opportunity was open, not just to those who are directly client facing, but the wider team including those involved in finance, administration, marketing, training and development. This meant that everyone who participated could understand how we could potentially use this tool through our programmes to further improve the level of advice offered to our clients, and how we can use the Business Model Canvas to look at how we work and could work more smartly as an organisation.  

The session was delivered by Amanda Brooks, Enterprise Education Development Manager at Lancaster University, and was a chance to not only hear about how they have used the Business Model Canvas in practice, but an opportunity for our team to take part in an idea’s sharing session to compare methodology and experiences.  This helped to strengthen the understanding across the wider team of how our advice services work, and to build best practice models for moving forward.

Our team moving around the space to explore different BMC methods

Some of the comments from our staff following the session included:
“It was great to be given the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of our organisation and the work undertaken by my colleagues. Great for team building as well as building my knowledge”

“I really enjoyed exploring the Business Model Canvas in this session.  It was interesting to see how each of us had used it so far to offer advice, and I think sharing our ideas had helped to strengthen our toolkit for supporting a diverse client base.”

“It’s always nice to feel like your organisation is investing in you, so having time out from the day to day during Learning at Work week is a real boost on a personal level as well as for professional development.”

Also during learning at work week The Women’s Organisation are encouraging their team to ensure they are putting time in their diary to focus on personal learning and development.  Some of the team have expressed an interest in taking time to explore Google Digital Garage modules as part of their development, while others are opting to shadow colleagues or join in smaller discussions to further their knowledge.

To find out more about the Advice Skills Academy project please click here. 

Advice Skills Academy