Jon Deards has extensive practical experience in the milling industry having joined Whitworth Bros. Ltd as a Shift Miller ten years ago. Determined to progress within the organisation Jon worked towards becoming a Technical Miller, however this was not enough; he wanted to progress further. After not securing a recent promotion opportunity, Jon discovered that formalising his knowledge and gaining a recognised management qualification was essential.
Jon believed that achieving a qualification would help him to open up his way of thinking and, in the long term, would benefit not only himself but also his organisation.
"To secure the promotion I was striving for I needed to demonstrate I was willing to take the time to develop my management knowledge and then be seen to put that knowledge into practice. Throughout my career I have observed different styles of management – some effective and some less so. I wanted to be sure that when my promotion came I would handle situations to the best of my ability and more importantly, effectively."
Deciding that a management and leadership qualification was the route to take Jon presented his manager with a business case outlining why he thought his organisation should invest in his personal development. Jon requested funding to complete the CMI Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership (QCF) as delivered by Exponential Training’s distance learning method.
"I wanted to take the route which would have minimum impact on my work commitments and did not want to have to commit to college attendance. I knew I would have to study in my own time and therefore planned specific times when I would do this. The flexibility of distance learning also meant that when I found myself with a few spare minutes I would be able to use the time productively for personal development."
Jon explained that studying alone can be daunting and it takes a lot of discipline, but he continually made use of ManagementDirect, the online resources provided by CMI and the support and guidance from Exponential Training. This is top advice that he would pass on to others who are thinking of studying via distance learning.
"ManagementDirect was like a One Stop Shop and I rarely needed to look at other sources of information to explore the topics within the qualification."
Although Jon learnt a lot from the Management and Leadership qualification one key learning point uppermost in his mind is that management styles need to be adapted to suit the needs of the situation and the people involved.
"In my role I tend to be bombarded with so much information it can be over-whelming; the unit based on information management taught me to focus on what is needed and sort it into meaningful and relevant information. I also recognised that continuous personal development is essential and this is something I want to formalise at work and help others to benefit as I have."
The biggest achievement for Jon to date is that he earned his promotion just before completing the Management and Leadership qualification. He already feels that his studies are having a positive impact:
"I have restructured our planning meetings and now instead of them taking place daily they are held weekly. My team tell me they feel more motivated and involved in the operation and I have noticed that more preventative maintenance is carried out rather than fire-fighting situations."
Jon is delighted to be a part of Whitworth Bros. Ltd Senior Management Team and is already planning how to achieve his next career move.