Martin Spence

Learning and Development is Martin’s passion and in 2014 he got the opportunity to work on it full-time. We sat down with him to understand some of the (award-winning) work he’s been involved in recently and how L&D has a part to play in the retention of our colleagues.

Martin, what do you do at BT and what does your team do?

I work as a Learning and Development Specialist.  The team I work in uses our expertise in collaboration with business colleagues to deliver world class learning solutions.  We help business leaders achieve their goals through the creation of learning and development programmes that help colleagues develop the right skills at the right time.

How did you get into the Learning & Development space?

After completing a Masters level qualification in HR Management, I started a career in HR almost 30 years ago.  Throughout my career as an HR professional, I always enjoyed the projects that required me to develop or deliver training programmes, or involved coaching colleagues to be their best. When an opportunity came up at BT in 2014 to work on learning and development programmes full time, I decided to follow my passion and went for it.

What kind of programmes you develop to upskill our colleagues?

I’ve been involved in a wide range of projects since moving into learning and development. 

  • I’ve qualified as a coach and been involved in coaching graduates and leaders
  • I’ve developed learning programmes to develop business skills such as consultation
  • I develop technical skills development programmes working with business subject matter experts
  • I’ve project managed the roll out of technical skill development apps to thousands of colleagues
  • I’ve worked with colleagues to bring in new approaches to mentoring, and to assess the impact of our learning programmes

Are the programmes designed for those that have no technical skills?

One of the projects I’ve worked on recently was to develop a training programme for people with no knowledge at all to start to learn about the basics of Cloud technologies.

How can L&D play a part in the retention of colleagues?

I work with knowledge workers, people who want to be an expert in their subject so it’s critical we’re offering colleagues continuing opportunities to learn and grow their skills if we want them to keep working with BT. That’s why over the last few years our team has made significant investments with external partners to provide access to up to date, world class technical learning content libraries.  This has transformed our colleagues experience of learning at work, and opened up that access to formal learning opportunities on a 24/7 basis.

You’ve been recognised externally for your work. What were those recognitions and how did the business support you?

In January 2021, BT was runner up in Campaign for Learning Impact Award for Promoting Digital Learning Journeys.  This recognition was for a campaign I managed to support the launch of the Pluralsight learning application across the technology units.

In autumn 2021, BT was awarded one of the inaugural Pluralsight Best in Tech awards. 

This is the citation we received from our Strategic Account Director who nominated us for the award.

Best in Tech Winner: BT Technology Pluralsight team
BT is a best in class organization, fully encompassing a strategic approach to tech skills development by actively encouraging learning as a part of their company culture. By focusing on continuous alignment, utilizing analytics to understand skill development progress and distribution, and preparing teams for the ever-changing fast paced world of telecommunications, they have delivered consistently against their KPIs and ROI projections.

If someone joins us or any company in our Group, what kind of support they can expect regarding their personal and professional development?

A couple of recent joiners have mentioned to me that the support BT offers for personal and professional development is phenomenal.  Some of things people could expect are:-

  • Access to world class content both technical for developing job related skills and for developing leadership skills. 
  • Support for undertaking professional study and qualifications, where relevant
  • Access to mentors with loads of experience
  • A culture that supports continuous development and expects colleague to have career development and progression

More colleague stories