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Seven on the way up Learning and development

Recruitment profile

'One of the things I enjoy about Carl Bro is the refreshing mix of informality and structure, ' says Jan Carter, who joined the company as human resources director in 2004. 'When a business grows to a certain size it needs a degree of structure, but we only put structures in place if they are meaningful and they work.' Graduate training, for example, is organised in line with the needs of professional institutions to help staff attain membership of bodies such as the ICE and Chartered Institute of Water & Environmental Management. But beyond that, the personal and professional development of individuals within the company is highly flexible, often enabling them to move between sectors, locations and even disciplines.

Staff are given management opportunities at an early stage in their careers - possibly because Carl Bro has an interesting mix of major framework agreements and smaller one-off projects. As they progress, they receive training in company-specific fi nancial and project management systems, but otherwise, people are encouraged to be responsible for furthering their own development.

In fact Carter says she prefers to talk about learning and development rather than training. 'Everything you do is an opportunity to learn - any meeting you go to, any interaction with a client. I want to get away from thinking that training is only about courses.

Staff have annual appraisals in which they set objectives for the next stage in their career. These may highlight areas where they wish to increase their knowledge, or opportunities may come up during their day-to-day working lives. 'We don't do 'shopping list' training, ' says Carter. 'By not providing a list, it means people are encouraged to have a proper conversation about their development goals and those of the team.'

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