Entering awards can be a daunting proposition. It’s always a huge joy to have your hard work appreciated; but subjecting it to the critical eye of a panel of judges can of course also be a way of discovering it’s not as great as you thought it was. This was never more true than with our recent submission for the Learning and Development gong at this week’s Drum Business Awards. Going into the ceremony, the team and I knew that our overhaul of the agency’s training scheme had gone over well within the business and garnered incredible take up rates among our colleagues, but there was still a chance that someone out there had done even better work. Consequently, it was an enormous delight to learn that the panel of judges agreed that our new programme was strong, and among a competitive shortlist, awarded us the main prize.

Developed and rolled out over the last twelve months, our Space Academy offers team members a blend of in-house pioneer sessions, external courses and a subscription to one of the leading online platforms; LinkedIn Learning. The structure and design of the academy was based on extensive research carried out before launch, and responds to the demography of our team, seeking to engage with them in the ways that suit them best (we are a media agency, after all). As a result, our content is made available as “live” cross-office pioneer sessions led by our experts and our suppliers, as agency-wide video courses and pathways, as recommended podcasts, as self-led learning pathways and as audio sessions for people to consume on the move. We set out to design a learning programme that suits the needs both of our colleagues and of the business, and the available data suggests that we have succeeded in both regards.

The Drum judges praised in particular the way the Academy is built on insights and data. I was very pleased they noticed, because that is exactly how we like to do things around here.

This award has come at a crucial moment for us: as the agency has grown over the last few years, the need for new schemes, structures and processes has increased. We’ve made a commitment to the ongoing wellbeing and improvement of our growing team, and to improving our retention of the amazing people who come and work with us. To have our considerable efforts and investment recognised in what remains a relatively new space for us is very welcome reassurance that we’re on the right track. We’re not finished yet though, we will be developing and refining the Academy as we go, and creating new pathways and pioneer sessions constantly in order to ensure that we’re as relevant as possible, delivering the best content to our team so that they can do the strongest work for our clients.

If you would like to join our happy, talented and well-trained team, please visit our careers page.

Heather Connearn, Associate Director