Developing skills in a large organisation through training and development
A National Grid case study

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Page 5: Development

Development is the process of supporting the improvement of a person in line with individual needs and business requirements. At National Grid, development does not end when a training scheme ends. National Grid's culture promotes the continuing development of its staff.

Development reviews

During the year, employees have development reviews. A development review involves an individual sitting down with his/her manager to talk about what development the employee needs and what support the company can provide to assist the employee in fulfilling the need(s). For example, an employee might state that he or she would like to improve his/her Information and Communications Technology(ICT) and public speaking skills in order to more effectively develop and deliver business presentations. This need could be fulfilled using on-the-job or off-the-job training, or a combination of both. For example, the employee may work with a colleague who is preparing and delivering a presentation. Alternatively or additionally, the employee may attend a classroom-based training course. Once discussed during the development review, the development needs and associated training and development necessary to fulfil them are set out in a document called a personal development plan (PDP). The PDP is reviewed for progress at points throughout the year. The following profile of Johnny Johnston, graduate engineer, provides an example of how National Grid supports the training and development of its people.

Johnny Johnston

My relationship with National Grid has been going on for some time. After I completed my A levels, I joined National Grid as a Year in Industry student. I was 18. I knew very little about this business. But the whole experience opened my eyes to the size and scope of National Grid. I was sponsored through university, coming back to a different area of the company each summer for an eight-week placement. After I completed my master's degree in engineering science, I joined the company's Graduate Development Programme.

As an engineering graduate, my development was made up of 50% technical and 50% commercial training. I also received competency-based training that has come in very useful in the real working environment. It was a pretty intense 18 months since we covered a lot of ground, but it is well put together and really enjoyable. I have worked in various departments and locations throughout the company. One of my placements on the graduate scheme was in the corporate centre in London, which gave me high-level exposure to projects. I spent two great years on a secondment to the US working on the electricity side of the business, developing as an economics expert in transmission operations. I've also had experience on the gas side of the business, managing projects in gas distribution.

Last year, I completed the company's Emergent Leaders' Programme, in which we as delegates got to sink our teeth into a high profile business project. Our project revolved around the power line and pipeline diversion in East London that's part of the city's preparation for the 2012 Olympics. It was a challenging piece of work, but also a great opportunity to use and build upon the skills I've developed here through the years.

I love the variety of work and development opportunities on offer at National Grid. I came out of university as an electrical engineer and yet have found myself dealing with politicians in corporate affairs, involved in both the electricity and gas sides of the business and working on ground-breaking economic forecasting studies in the US. I look forward to taking on even more challenges and responsibility in the future.

National Grid | Developing skills in a large organisation through training and development