Charity Learning champions 2019

The annual Charity Learning Awards prove yet again that lack of budget and resources is no barrier to transforming learning and development. Read on to find out how this year’s winners have succeeded with a ‘can do’ attitude, sheer determination and a real focus on learner experience, all while remaining focused on solving business challenges.

L&D Professional of the Year: Michelle Coates, Learning and Development Manager, World Vision UK 

  • Michelle Coates has made a huge impact on the learning culture at World Vision UK. She has transformed key areas like induction, management development and individual learning, quietly revolutionising core aspects of learning and development (L&D). Using a Kaizen approach, she has put learners needs at the forefront, whilst focusing on those areas of the business where she could make the greatest impact on the greatest need, with a rigorous approach to return on investment. Learning is now seen as a journey to excellence, with a huge commitment to people’s development, whatever level they are working at. She has achieved all this in a solo ‘team’, demonstrating that a small budget and limited capacity can’t hold back big aspirations. You can find out more about how Michelle transformed Induction at World Vision UK in this case study. 

Outstanding Learning Culture: Royal Voluntary Service

  • Together the L&D team at Royal Voluntary Service have transformed learning at the much loved charity. They’ve encouraged self-help, turned their eLearning site into a ‘one stop shop’ and created multimedia, bespoke resources and courses as part of a blended approach to learning. They’ve focused on developing a great user experience, aligning everything to the organisation’s core values and needs. As a result, they’ve inspired a new learning culture. It’s a shining example of just what can be achieved with vision, hard work and determination. You can find out more about the transformation at Royal Voluntary Service in this case study.

Top Community Contributor: Chris Williams, L&D Project Development Lead, Change Grow Live

  • Chris Williams is a passionate advocate of the benefits of collaboration. He embodies the true spirit of the Charity Learning Consortium, that together we are stronger than on our own. Chris is always the first to volunteer his services, and freely shares his knowledge and expertise. He has led several networking sessions at Charity Learning Consortium events in 2019, provides great notation afterwards, and works hard to keep conversations going. As such, he’s an outstanding community champion.

The LMS that has it all: RSPB

  • RSPB has made it’s learning management system (LMS), provided by the Charity Learning Consortium, it’s own, putting user experience at the heart of everything. The conservation charity’s LMS is now central to a dynamic new approach to blended learning. They’ve adopted a ‘keep it simple’ and ‘less is more’ approach, customising the platform, streamlining activities and using clean design and clear signposting. The small L&D team – in particular Laura Winstone, Virtual Learning Solutions Manager – rolled up their sleeves and really got stuck in to customising the LMS themselves. Importantly, they’ve thought about future proofing, ensuring they remained compatible with the Charity Learning Consortium’s customised Moodle platform. They also approached the work in several, stepped stages to make it manageable, providing a great example for other charities to follow.

Pictured left to right are: Laura Winstone, Virtual Learning Solutions Manager, RSPB; Chris Williams, L&D Project Development Lead, Change Grow Live; Martin Baker, founder and CEO, Charity Learning Consortium; Simon Fassam, Training and Development Partner, Stacie Lloyd, Training Manager, and Jen Williams, Digital Learning Designer, Royal Voluntary Service.

Martin Baker, founder and CEO of the Charity Learning Consortium, commented: “I’ve spent a lot of time visiting members this year and it’s been wonderful to see the shift towards putting individual – as well as business needs – at the centre of learning. The work that Michelle Coates at World Vision UK and the team at Royal Voluntary Service has done really stands out. Practitioners like these, along with Chris Williams at Change Grow Live, and the team at RSPB, succeed by rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck into the challenges they face. All our winners, and indeed all our members, have big aspirations. Collectively we can face the challenges of a new way of learning in the 2020s and beyond.”

Previous year’s winners: Announcing the stars of Charity Learning 2018

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