Taking on the role of Chief Executive for the first time is a career milestone and an exciting new challenge. In 2014, Alison Robinson found herself about to reach this milestone, serving out her role as a Learning Advisor and preparing to take on a Chief Executive tenure at Gloucester Association of Parish and Town Councils (GAPTC) in the new year. She was fresh from successfully completing a Level 5 VRQ Certificate in Management and Leadership, but was entering a new role, with different opportunities and different responsibilities.
With ambitions to continue her career’s progression, she sought the opportunities offered by further professional learning, choosing a Chartered Management Institute Level 6 Management and Leadership Diploma as a pathway to meet her goals. Alison chose the Management and Leadership Diploma as she wanted a qualification that she could relate to her own workplace and, to reflect her role as a learning rep, would set an example that you can always continue to learn and professionally develop.
GAPTC, who specialise in Town and Parish Council law and procedures, incorporates a wide range of sensitive public interest duties, including legal guidance on areas such as employment, financial controls, public greens and burial grounds; training for councillors and clerks; and, as an affiliate of the National Association of Local Councils, represents its members at a national level. As Chief Executive, Alison’s role would be to help realise the strategic vision of the organisation.
Studying during the transition proved challenging at times, and the period in which she was adjusting to a new job and familiarising herself with a new sector presented a particular hurdle. Despite this challenge, Alison persevered and went on to feel real rewards from her learning. She comments about her qualification, “I’m very satisfied, because it enabled me to apply management principles in practice, which has been vital in this new role.”
The positive impact of the qualification has included increased strategic awareness, improved performance management and change management skills and has really benefitted Alison’s ability to develop a team. She particularly found it useful in refining her approach to communicating change, commenting on where her knowledge benefitted most she said, “Communicating change – 100%! Updates, policies, and communicating change processes effectively.”
Weighing up the benefits of undertaking the Diploma for her personally, she comments, “When you pay for training you actually value it. The cost of the training is value for money, especially when you consider the level of qualification.” Adding the team were, “Highly professional, and incredibly supportive,” living up to the positive reputation which originally motivated her to study with PNE Development.
Alison completed her Diploma towards the end of 2016 and remains at GAPTC in her role as Chief Executive. Her profile on their website even notes she enjoys studying in her time outside of work. With such a positive attitude to professional development, who knows what the next milestone for Alison will be!