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Simon Le Tocq, Chief Executive of the GTA University Centre looks back over another successful year for the organisation.

2022 was another year impacted by COVID-19 but a year in which local businesses were adapting to the new normal of operating against the backdrop of a pandemic. The world reopened and we regained a degree of normality but there were certainly new challenges along the way including a cost-of-living crisis, disrupted supply chains as a result of the war in Ukraine and a global war on talent sparking retention and recruitment problems.

The pandemic has accelerated the shift toward digital platforms for commerce, communications, and many other essential business functions. Online learning has gained greater acceptance as a result of COVID-19 and the GTA has expanded its online offering to meet demand. Interestingly, however, as face-to-face courses returned in earnest last year, we saw a strong preference for the physical classroom over the virtual one. I have no doubt that the demand for online learning will maintain an upward trajectory as it presents a number of advantages and opportunities (which we at the GTA have started to explore e.g., hybrid learning where learners can join a course either in person or virtually) but in our experience, there is no real substitute for the focus on human interaction that face-to-face learning offers.

We saw strong demand for Project Management training in 2022 with a 67% increase in bookings compared to the previous year, which is perhaps reflective of a growing recognition that project management is a distinct role requiring specialist skills (and not just a bolt-on task to the day job). Training your staff invariably comes with a price tag but not investing in your employees is a false economy. Projects often drive business strategy, and we can probably all think of projects that have overrun or been unsuccessful. Project management skills help ensure projects are completed on time and within budget. In 2022 we saw 38 delegates on 15 courses, with new online virtual live and self-paced courses added to the GTA offering alongside face-to-face options.

We continued to see increased demand for bespoke training in 2022; this is an area in which we have developed considerable expertise over the past few years as more organisations have begun looking towards personalised learning and development solutions for their employees. Our team will sit down with you to understand your needs and challenges and create a solution that will help your team perform better. One of the advantages of opting for a bespoke training course is that the examples that are used can be related to your business ensuring the learning is both relevant and meaningful. It’s a great way to help employees get experience with real-world problems that are currently affecting the business and gain the proper training to meet these problems head-on. Learning with colleagues is also a great way to build support and trust and the camaraderie that can be developed on a bespoke course often leads to a more engaged team. In 2022, we designed 73 such programmes (a 52% increase on the previous year), across a variety of different subject areas delivered both in-house and at the GTA.

Director training also saw strong numbers on courses in 2022 which is excellent news for Guernsey boardrooms. We saw record numbers going through the IOD Company Direction programme with 2 cohorts, one in-house programme and a total of 53 delegates. The NED Development Programme, our mentoring programme for aspiring directors, also attracted very good numbers of both participants and host boards. Guernsey needs to broaden its director talent pool to successfully meet new challenges. In the IOD Company Direction Programme, we have a gold standard course and the NED Development Programme offers an opportunity for delegates to gain invaluable experience in a safe environment, with placements on boards under the guidance of experienced board members. In 2022, we placed 17 delegates on boards.

These are but a few of the highlights in what was a very busy year for the organisation which saw course bookings approaching pre-pandemic levels. In summary, in 2022 our dedicated team of 14 staff coordinated the training and development for just short of 3,000 delegates, delivering 311 courses. The range and depth of the programmes we offer are extensive and constantly updated as we work to ensure our learning portfolio meets our customers’ needs. Indeed, in 2022 we introduced 24 brand new courses and worked on a number of exciting new courses and training initiatives that we will be rolling out shortly.

We would like to thank each and every one of our customers for their support in 2022 and look forward to assisting you with your learning and development needs in 2023.

If you would like to learn more about how the GTA can help you on your learning journey, please call 01481 224570 to speak to one of our Programmes Managers.