I’m just not getting stressed like I used to…

Ashley Banks is convinced that the Manufacturing Institute’s Leadership Development Programme (LDP) has been instrumental in improving his confidence, effectiveness and communication skills in the workplace.

A lamination shift trainer for Veka, Ashley attended the LDP for one day a week over two months in mid-2019. He says the impact of the course was immediate and has helped him feel more comfortable in his role and in his abilities.

“I’ve gained a lot of confidence since doing the course, especially with public speaking and doing presentations. Another massive benefit was improving my time and man-management skills, and understanding how to manage and delegate to a team,” says Ashley.

Before he enrolled on the LDP, Ashley says he used to find it stressful trying to get all his tasks done during the day. A major component of the LDP, however, is time management, which Ashley found enormously useful.

“We did a full day on time management and stress management, where the tutors explained that you should only plan to do 10% of your workload, and then spend 10% of the day actually getting stuff done, because you’ll get pulled onto other things for the rest of the day.”

“Understanding that and managing what I need to do over a longer period has helped me a lot. I’m just not getting stressed like I used to,” he says.

Another big benefit of the course, says Ashley, was the site visit to Leyland Trucks in Lancashire: an opportunity to see how cutting-edge leadership and management practices were being successfully implemented at a major UK manufacturing company.

“Going to Leyland Trucks was amazing. It was quite incredible to see how efficient their processes are and how it all works together. It inspired me to introduce some basic Lean principles into our workplace – getting everything into a nice even circle so it flows properly instead of travelling all over the place, for example.

“There was four of us from my employer on the course, so together we’ve been across all the shifts and improved the company in terms of increasing efficiency, reducing waste and hitting our KPIs”.

The programme’s one-day module on health and safety was also helpful, he says. It’s enabled him to strengthen his understanding of health and safety in the workplace, and to spot things on the shop floor that could be improved, helping him and his colleagues to work more safely.

His main takeaway from the programme, however, is the huge boost it has given his
self-confidence in terms of his leadership and management abilities.

“There’s a presentation at the end of the course. Before I would have been very worried about it but, by the time you get to the end of the course, you’re so confident in your understanding of the subject that you just breeze through it.”

“The result is, I can now hold a meeting and do a presentation quite comfortably,” he says. “Before, I was quite shy but now I’m not scared about getting up and speaking to people. I’m more forthcoming and a lot braver when it comes to things like that – I actually enjoy doing presentations now”.

He recognises the investment his employer has made in his training and is committed to making the most of the opportunity. He is already considering putting in an application for a new role, with more responsibility, and says this would not have happened if it wasn’t for the new-found skills and confidence he developed on the LDP.

“I can definitely say the course has helped to improve my performance and reduce the levels of stress in my job. I enjoy my job more now. It’s improved my health – and also my homelife with my partner, as I’m not coming home from work stressed out anymore. It’s a big improvement.”

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