In this issue we look at skills and training. Stirling KimKeran is co-founder and CEO of Omnicom Engineering, a business which has utilised training through the University of York as well as funding from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership to improve business results.
Please give a brief description of your business and your role
Omnicom is an innovative technology company established in 1994. We provide products/services to the transportation sector primarily around technologies associated with asset location, inspection and management. Omnicom’s latest innovation “OmniVision® is helping Network Rail automate basic visual track inspection.
What type of training has worked best for you personally?
My degree in electronic and computer engineering gave me the grounding needed for working in the fast moving world of technology. I also have a mentor (external to the company) who has significant executive and strategic management experience, and who can act as critical friend.
What impact has training had on your business?
Training has had a positive impact on our company allowing us to grow and expand our team as well as the portfolio of products/services we offer our clients. It has helped with staff motivation and improving overall productivity.
What advice would you give to a business putting a training strategy together?
Investment in staff training is essential to the growth of the company. I would recommend putting together personal training plans for all staff, this will boost staff motivation/performance and help align their needs with the wider business objectives.
Have there any been any pitfalls when it comes to upskilling you can share?
There is always a concern as an SME that once the employees are trained they will leave for a larger organisations. It is important that the training is part of wider range of measures to create a culture that encourages greater staff engagement and retention in your company.
Have you had any support when it comes to training your teams and what has that been like?
There has never been a better time to invest in staff training there are a variety of local business support services that can be accessed through universities, LEPs, the Chamber, local trade organisations and institutions. The feedback from our staff that has been on these courses has been very positive. We have also found access to funding such as the recent “Growth Accelerator Programme” easy to access.