Getting to know our new Group Learning & Development Manager, Lesley Blower
Lesley Blower joined Canford Healthcare as Group Learning & Development Manager earlier this year.
This is a new role for the organisation, and Lesley is responsible for the training and professional development of staff across our homes and support offices. She works closely with managers to ensure that all our training programmes align with the organisation’s objectives, with a clear correlation between the provision of training and the best quality of care for residents.
Lesley’s remit encompasses all areas of training and development including apprenticeships, career pathways and a variety of different types of learning, such as 1:1 coaching or face-to-face group sessions, to take account of people’s preferred learning styles and help them develop to their full potential.
She has already made several changes to the way training has delivered, including the appointment of regional learning & development trainers who are delivering consistent and focused content across all our 11 homes. Other exciting developments in the pipeline include the launch this winter of a Learning Management System that will provide access to a whole range of interactive and user-friendly courses to sit alongside the delivery of face-to-face material. Staff will be encouraged to study areas that interest them such as dementia, medication, diabetes, and achieve specialist qualifications. The LMS will also keep a detailed record of each person’s learning journey with prompts when further training is due!
“Coming into care really is a viable and satisfying career pathway and should be seen as such, whether you go down the clinical or management route, or specialise in something else such as activities,” she says. “My aim is to create a strong learning and development function that increases our employees’ skills and knowledge so they can provide even better care to residents and also to create wider career paths for everyone.”
Lesley started her career in insurance, dealing with motor personal injury claims. Given the opportunity to provide technical training to colleagues, she loved it so much that she moved full time into training, working for several large UK insurers and working in India for a time. Lesley made the switch into health and social care training ten years ago and now “can’t imagine doing anything else”!
Although she has travelled widely, Lesley is most fond of her home-town of Dundee where she grew up as the only child of a Post Office telephonist mother and jute sales manager father. According to Lesley, Dundee is famous for the ‘three J’s’ – jute, jam, and journalism – and when she visits, she freely admits that her accent reverts to full Dundee Scottish!
Lesley is mother to Lucy who lives at home with her and their German Shepherd puppy, Ziggy, and three cats – Oscar, Honey, and Jess. In her spare time, she loves to bake, finding “real satisfaction in turning raw ingredients into something that tastes great”. She acknowledges that her icing skills need some work but is confident that practice will – eventually – make perfect!