LEYF plan to 'grow managers from within'

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The London Early Years Foundation is sending scores of staff on an external leadership course to ensure that at least 50 per cent of its managers are appointed from within the company.

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Gary Simpson leads Leyf's leadership programme

The move comes under the social enterprise nursery group's Aspiring Leaders Programme, which is about to embark on its second wave, having already sent 30 members of staff on the Level 3 Award from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

Gary Simpson, LEYF’s lead for quality, learning & development, said, ‘Because our organisation is growing we want to encourage leadership from within. Our goal is to have as many managers and deputies come from within the organisation as without.’

As well as potential managers, he said many of those on the course were Level 3-qualified staff who wanted a specialism or more responsibility.

‘Some people don’t want to be a manager or deputy, but they might want to be a lead in the curriculum. Or they might be confident in their own skills and want to take a role in supporting colleagues, but may be without people management experience.’

Currently, 17 managers out of 28 have come from within LEYF, but the company is embarking on a rapid programme of expansion with a target of 50 settings and a £50m turnover within three years.

Jamel Campbell, currently a level 3 qualified key worker at a LEYF setting in Westminster, who is about to embark on the course, said, ‘I hope to gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to become a leader. At the end of the course I would like to be in a position where I'm able to apply what I've learnt as a lead or a manager.’

The six-month ILM course includes modules on leadership and managing learning and development.

It is supplemented with six ‘action learning’ group sessions, where real life problems are discussed and less experienced staff are challenged by more experienced members of the team.

  • LEYF is Nursery World's Nursery Chain of the Year 2014
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