My Inside Story - Training and Development

My Inside Story: Training and Development

Vicki Fletcher

24 Jul 2017

Meet Vicki Fletcher! Vicki is a part of the HR team here at Hachette UK in her role as Group Training & Development Manager. Here she tells us what it takes to train and inspire our staff across all of our divisions…


What is your role at Hachette UK?

I am Group Training & Development Manager, AKA ‘The Training Lady’ so I am responsible for ensuring all our staff get the right training and development to help them in their role but also their future potential role and future career.

What made you choose a career in L&D/ L&D in Publishing?
I ‘fell’ into L&D and training after I was rejected for a HR graduate job! I knew I wanted to be involved in people development somehow and training is much more fun (I think!) than the HR side of things. I got this role in publishing after applying for a maternity cover role. I previously worked in catering and also in the public sector so the beauty of training is that you can be very flexible where you work. I remember on my first interview for the Hachette job being so so excited to walk into a reception area and looking at the shelves thinking ‘I’ve read that one, and  that one, and that one’ and being very excited I could combine my career with books and other people who also love reading and books.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the variety my role offers. I get to work on different projects, courses, programmes across the whole of the HUK Group, at all levels, and get involved in topics and training that are often quite exciting and interesting. I learn a lot just by facilitating sessions and talking to people across the business, which in itself is very inspiring.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
Organising! I’m not going to lie, sometimes I put too many events or sessions into the diary at once and that can get confusing. Also, explaining sometimes why I can’t get everyone on a particular training course because it’s full, and we might not have the budget to run more than one session. Overall however, there aren’t any major difficulties, I thoroughly enjoy my job and whilst it can have stressful days, the majority are a lot of fun, especially when I get to design training myself and get all the flipcharts out!

What are the key skills for a Training & Development Manager?
Key skills are: organisation – being on top of and knowing what’s happening day to day but also a few weeks in advance because you might need to prepare, print, plan a training session or event. I think there’s also a certain amount of creativity too: when a manager or team comes to me with a problem I need to be able to ask suitable questions to really understand their training needs and identify the best way to meet their needs: especially as not every training session will suit everyone, and we need to be able to adapt as far as possible to what will help best. On top of that, you need confidence in talking to different people at all different levels of the business – and not on just as individuals; I am often asked to speak to or train large and small groups of people so presentation skills or training skills are also a must.

What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
In 2016 we launched our new HUK LEAD programme which is a leadership programme for senior directors across our Group. It was a big project for us to launch and I am so pleased to say that our first group going through it have both enjoyed it and learnt from it. It’s a fantastic programme with lots of different elements and it’s been so exciting watching it happen and discover how the attendees have changed as a result. It’s great being part of a programme which changes people’s lives and careers for the future.

What’s the most inspiring training session you’ve been a part of?
A few years ago we launched the internal HUK Mentoring scheme which has gone on from strength to strength and again last year we were able to adapt it and launch a new strand of it to include Parental Mentoring for any parent taking extended leave to raise children. The session with the mentors and mentees was just fantastic: it’s so exciting to be part of something which can really help people in a very transitional time. It’s a very altruistic programme, and is based on our staff’s willingness to help each other which is brilliant.

What is the one course you’d recommend for someone starting their first job in publishing?
I don’t think any 1 course will give you enough information about Publishing. I think the best thing is to talk to people: say hi in the kitchens, get talking to people and ask lots of questions (at the  right time of course). That way, you can get a feel for what people do and how it all works together: from there it’s very dependent on what you do but I think not just for Hachette, but for all publishers – a sound knowledge and understanding of Biblio will take you far! if you know how that works then you have all the information literally at your fingertips.