At Essex County Council we have developed inspirational and diverse learning opportunities to support our people to grow both personally and professionally. Learning is a continual process, as we learn all the time from our experiences, interactions, training courses and a diverse range of other resources we consume on a daily basis, be it books, magazines or podcasts. We encourage our people to be curious and look for opportunities to grow through experiences to learn on the job, from others (within the team, as well as the organisation and the wider system) and more formal learning which will enable you to flourish in your career.
A learning organisation
We are committed to building an organisation which enables every one of us to be the best we can be. We want to ensure that in our organisation learning is part of everything we do, enabling us to be the best in our daily roles and beyond.
You’re in control
Learning is integrated with all the work we do. Every member of our organisation takes ownership of their own development. You will also embrace being the master of your learning journey.
We don’t just offer formal programmes either. A wide range of support is available. This includes:
- A large suite of online training and tools
- Dedicated learning events such as ‘LearnFest’ – our flagship annual celebration of learning
- Apprenticeships for both new and existing colleagues
- Financial support to achieve professional qualifications
- Support from subject matter experts
- The opportunity to share your own expertise to up-skill colleagues
- Leadership and executive coaching
- Learning on demand
- Career pathways
Learning is truly powerful when it’s embedded in everyday work – when it comes from having and sharing direct experiences.
This is the reason we created LearnFest. We made learning a social occasion, where people come together to learn and celebrate. It is an experience that really stands out from traditional training activities.
2019 saw the first LearnFest. We delivered five days of learning, across eight locations. There were 204 sessions (111 of which were delivered by internal staff). We ‘sold’ 2,145 tickets, and received fantastic feedback from colleagues, external guests and partners.
There were launch events, market places, competitions, games and online learning. Not to mention debates, masterclasses, skills swaps, coaching, interest/hobby and taster sessions and senior manager insights.
External speakers and providers helped all of us learn something new – around health and wellbeing, exercise and other great topics.
LearnFest came back in 2020, as a three-day virtual festival bringing together collective talents, ideas and experiences of our employees and building on the incredible success of our first festival in 2019. The theme this second time was ‘reimagine’. COVID-19 has changed our ways of working and, as an organisation, we have made a commitment to learn from and reflect on the previous few months. This, in turn, allowed us to reimagine our ways of working, how we deliver services to our residents, the way we lead through uncertainty and how we stay connected and continue to collaborate. Making time for learning and reflection is important and that’s why we were committed to giving employees the chance to reimagine their learning during a challenging year.
There were more than 100 original, creative, and unusual events taking place throughout the week, all with our employees learning and development in mind. These included keynote speakers, workshops, demonstrations, online challenges, wellbeing sessions, the Essex Social Care Academy’s (ESCA’s) annual Learning at Work week and much more. This range of interactive sessions were hosted by our talented internal staff as well as some of our partners such as Adult Community Learning, Active Essex, Essex Country Parks, Essex Outdoors Centre, Mind Gym, Corporate Rebels, Change Gear, It’s my Colour, to name just a few. Whether it was a virtual escape room or repotting plants, maths games using items from around the house or effective virtual working – there was something for everyone, including the family.
My Learning Platform
Our strong learning culture is supported by My Learning, our state-of-the-art learning platform to which all our employees have access to. On this platform, you can access new development opportunities and resources, strengthen your skills and share your learning, knowledge and skills with your colleagues across the whole organisation. My Learning offers a personalised learning experience, by curating learning content that is relevant for your role and of interest for you. Its powerful search engine will allow you to browse the ample catalogue of learning resources by topic or type of learning (workshops, online courses, videos, reading materials, curriculum).