Eighty per cent of middle managers at Arriva UK Trains who have undertaken a flagship leadership programme with the University of South Wales (USW) have been promoted to Director roles as a result.
USW’s Commercial Services Ltd team developed the continually evolving leadership development programme for the transport company – which is part of the Deutsche Bahn group and operates Arriva Trains Wales, Cross Country Trains, London Overground Rail Operations Ltd (Lorol), Chiltern Railways, Arriva Train Care, Tyne and Wear Metro and Grand Central Trains
The initial programme – called LeaD 1 – involved a group of 22 selected middle and senior managers identifying their own development needs, who then teamed up with a coach and a mentor from within Arriva UK Trains to develop their skills.
They then undertook a nine-day leadership programme, spread over six months, which covered topics such as developing strategic thinking, influencing, negotiating and persuading, coaching, trust, and motivation.
A second group have now completed the LeaD 2 programme, and LeaD 3 started in December 2015.
“Arriva UK Trains identified in 2012 that it needed to invest in future leaders as part of its succession plan to secure the future of the group and to ensure that their customers received the best possible level of service,” explained Sharon Mott, Business Development Manager at USW Commercial Services Ltd, which specialises in the provision of professional learning, development and consultancy services.
“Development needs of the individuals were identified through assessment centres in line with the organisation’s strategic goals.
“The programme showed an innovative and experiential approach to delivery and included action learning techniques alongside coaching and mentoring support, along with the use of the green classroom – leadership walks in the Brecon Beacons.
“Each module was activity based, and therefore experiential, so the transfer of learning to the work environment was swift.”
The development programme also went further, by enabling crucial time for ‘reflection’ for leaders.
“This is an important part of leadership development and, with our delivery partners from the Professional Development Centre, we use the model of Critical Leadership’, which encourages leaders to behave in a way that is conducive to their responsibilities as a leader,” added Ms Mott.
“Extensive evaluation was undertaken to ensure that the programme had made an impact within the organisation and that the expectations of both the participants and the organisation were met. It was found that the content and delivery style although different had a real impact.”
“Participants were also able to gain a professional qualification in leadership through the Institute of Leadership and Management, further embedding their learning and gaining recognition for successful completion.”