Women's Jobs, Men's Jobs

Women's Jobs, Men's Jobs

Case Study: On-the-job training

Jennifer is 22, and has worked for a small architectural firm, Grand Designs, since leaving school at 17. She is employed as an administrator and is a valued member of the team which comprises Jennifer, two architectural technicians and the managing director.

Grand Designs is a small, family-owned business which has operated for almost 100 years. When Jennifer first started work with the firm, the office was run on a paper-based system. Mr Jones, the managing director, prided himself on running a business that used traditional design methods, producing all of the firm's commissions using freehand drawings. Jennifer enjoyed working at Grand Designs but was worried by the recent downturn in trade and she wondered if the firm's reluctance to use technology might be holding them back.

At school, Jennifer excelled in IT and she believed she could convince the managing director of the benefits of Computer Aided Design to his business. While initially reluctant, Mr Jones eventually agreed to invest in basic design software. Jennifer offered to train Mr Jones and on the software and, after some time, Mr Jones agreed that CAD was a worthwhile investment that could prove very effective.

Shortly afterwards, one of the technicians, James, was offered a job with a large firm in the city. Mr Jones was worried about finding a suitable replacement; as a small business, he knew he could not compete with the salaries being offered by large firms for experienced technicians. Jennifer, however, saw James’ departure as an opportunity to progree. She had been with the firm for five years and during that time had gained in-depth knowledge of the workings of the business, had a good relationship with clients and contractors and had enjoyed getting involved in some of the design work when training the others on using the CAD package.

Jennifer approached Mr Jones with a proposal that she could receive on the job training, with a view to eventually taking on the architectural technician’s role. While Jennifer did not hold the standard qualifications for the role, she believed that the knowledge and experience she had gained in the five years she had worked for Grand Designs would benefit both her and the business.

Mr Jones agreed to Jennifer’s proposal, happy that he would retain a trusted employee who had a good working knowledge of the business and who could also help to train up the new member of staff who would replace her as office administrator.

Jennifer successfully negotiated a training salary with Mr Jones with the agreement that she be allowed to study for her chartered qualification on a part time basis, with day release to university when necessary.

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