Thriving Axminster company launches development programme for talented staff

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A new learning and development programme for talented staff has been launched by Axminster Tool Centre.

The Aspire scheme aims to harness the skills of a small number of selected individuals and develop them to help the company appoint its managers and team leaders of the future.

Consisting of nine members – six men and three women – the team will be working on group and individual projects relevant to the business.

They will be focusing on ways of reducing costs, generating profit or improving customer service.

All members have had to draw up their own personal development plan and, throughout the programme, will seek guidance and support from a mentor within the company and an outside business coach.

The company believes that such projects will give the team the opportunity to try out different skills, ranging from leadership and motivation to financial management and organisational flair.

Helen Terry, the main mentor of the group, said members would benefit from observing one another and trying out new strategies and styles in a “safe” situation.

“The Aspire programme provides a fresh approach to learning that is designed to meet the development needs of the individual, make a practical difference to the business and benefit the local community,” she said.

Another part of the brief is to raise funds for charity and the team is supporting Children’s Hospice South West.

It has already raised over £1,000 and more fundraising events are being planned, including an application to be one of the nominated call centres for Comic Relief on Friday, March 15.

Aspire member and leader of the fundraising initiative, Kelly Baker said: “We are extremely pleased with the progress we have made so far. Our aim for the next 12 months is to raise as much money as we can.”

The team has also been tasked with building up links within the community and is currently working closely with the Axe Valley Community College, providing mentors for its development programme.

Forthcoming events for the Aspire team include a challenge day at Escot House and an “Apprentice” style project where the group will split into two teams and be given a sum of money to develop an idea or create something to sell and make a profit.

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