British business spends about £30bn a year on training, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, explains Tim Stockil. Not surprisingly, there is a plethora of training providers out there wanting to get their hands on some of that expenditure. There is also an increasing number of artists applying their artistic skills, techniques and processes to help businesses tackle some of their most challenging issues. Just because you are an artist doesn?t mean that you are also a trainer. Corporate departments that hire training providers are often wary of spending their precious budgets on ?a couple of actors?. Artists, too, can be insecure about how relevant their skills are to a business environment and, indeed, whether they have the expertise necessary to translate their skills. Artists are not going to be training business people in their artform; the artform is merely the means whereby they will be training business people in something else entirely.
For seven years, Arts & Business (A&B) has organised four different training courses for prospective arts-based trainers. They are designed for practising artists and those who work in arts education, or community involvement. The introductory workshop gives a basic overview of arts-based training and looks at learning needs analysis, pricing, marketing and how to write a proposal. ?Building a Course? explores how to put together a development programme using arts techniques that will answer the needs of people with all learning styles. ?Facilitating Skills? offers an opportunity to learn how to pull the learning out of the artistic experience. Finally, there is an advanced workshop, which looks at some of the common psychometric models and development processes used in business today, such as neurolinguistic programming and personality types.
One man who has been through A&B?s training is Saul Cambridge. Saul used to work as a solicitor before he trained as an actor. He currently delivers training for a major insurance company. His motivation in becoming a trainer stemmed from an interest in personal development; in his move from the legal profession to the theatre world, he saw how strong the parallels were between the two. Saul?s experience brings great value to employees. From his time as a corporate lawyer, he has a deep understanding of the world of business and the sorts of issues that concern business leaders. Now he feels he can get staff to look at things in a new way using the arts, thus building and refreshing personal skills. He introduces creative and positive ways of tackling difficult issues.
The two-day programme he is currently delivering is entitled ?Personal Style, Impact and Influence?. On an individual basis, Saul expects that delegates will develop their self-awareness and their awareness of their impact on others and how that affects their ability to influence and persuade. Back at the office, the delegates should be better able to influence staff, peers, managers and clients because they have a bank of innovative and effective techniques, culled from the theatre, on which to draw.
The growth of arts-based training over recent years has been remarkable and well over 300 businesses now use artists regularly in training and development. Stephen Kingon, Managing Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers Northern Ireland says, ?Creative Training works for PricewaterhouseCoopers because it lets the artists tap into creative resources that staff already have but all too often leave at home. It helps people discover new ways ? and new media ? to innovate, communicate and inspire. Arts-based training is good for our people, for the organisation and for the bottom line. Creative training works and we like it.? Colin Tweedy, A&B Chief Executive, argues that businesses are desperate for more imaginative and creative approaches to work: ?Since our creative development programmes launched in 1999, hundreds of business people have been trained using these innovative courses, and more and more businesses are turning to the arts to help them to develop their workforce.?
Tim Stockil is Director of Creative Development at Arts & Business.