Be Inspired Series
Group Training and Development Manager
With a Masters in Life-long Learning Edinburgh-born Justine began her career in the hotel industry before moving into the supermarket world as a trainer
What Does Your Job Entail?
My job involves managing the training provision for the Henderson Group, covering all divisions - wholesale, retail, foodservice and property, which employs over 2,200 people.
As a department we also provide training for our retail customers who operate under the SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO, ViVOXTRA and ViVO Essentials brands.
Over the last few months, I have been specifically responsible for overseeing the development and now the successful implementation and roll out of the Academy.
The Academy has been born out of a desire to ensure a secure and bright future for the retailers within our group. Through delivering a comprehensive set of training and development solutions for retailers, the Academy offers retailers reassurance that their staff are fully trained to competently carry out all faculties of their role and contribute to the overall achievement of our strategic goals. The company continually monitors the professional development of staff throughout its stores.
Henderson Wholesale values their people, their skills and their knowledge which is why ‘The Best Companies to Work For’ survey highlighted the company as a ‘One to Watch’.
Is it 9-5?
Our customers don’t work 9-5, so the service the department and I provide has to reflect that. I often find that the best time to catch up on my e-mails is a quiet half hour in the evening.
How did you get into this line of work?
By accident really! As a student I was involved in the Students’ Association and worked on a couple of executive committee training events with the NUS. I really loved it, so when I started looking for a job I was naturally swayed towards learning and development.
Outline your career to date?
I started with Inter-Continental Hotels in Edinburgh as a personnel officer and then moved to Tesco as a Training Officer. In 1998, I decided I wanted a change of scenery and was fortunate that an opportunity arose with the Henderson Group. I moved to Belfast from my home town of Edinburgh, to join the organisation as a Retail Training Officer and was promoted to my current role three years ago.
Tell us about your qualifications/training.
I did my primary degree in Communication Studies at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and completed a Masters in Lifelong Learning at Queens University, Belfast. I’ve also completed qualifications in Food Safety and Health and Safety in order to facilitate the delivery of training programmes for the business.
What qualities are required for your job - personal and professional?
Learning has to stick and it’s important to use innovative training methods, so creativity is really important in the job.
We have a really diverse range of customers and good communication is paramount; as is the ability to empathise and be sensitive to the needs of the people you work with - whether that be a food-to-go advisor , a warehouse operative a store manager/owner or a director.
The job is really busy and it can be tough juggling that with family life, but to get the most out of both and get the right balance you need to be really organised, motivated and determined to succeed.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Be the Best that You can Be - It’s really motivated me in both work and personal situations and it’s a powerful mantra to encourage self belief in people.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Most of my spare time is spent with my two young children. I love those occasions when you get a few hours of uninterrupted time with them. I enjoy being able to get out and about when we have the weather and getting together with family and friends is a big part of my social life.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I worked as a chamber maid one summer and cleaned Catherine Zeta Jones’ bedroom!
Who has inspired you most in your life?
I can’t really say I’ve been inspired by any one person, but I find real inspiration from people whose lives demonstrate courage and strength in the face of adversity.