Archive for the ‘Updates’ category

St Andrews Skills Academy – New Course Calendar!

September 15, 2009

In response to employer demand, we have compiled a calendar of popular short courses to run in St Andrews over the next six months.  The flyer detailing this is below; to request a hard copy please contact Beth. All of these are available to book on our website, or you can email/phone us directly for more information.

AW09 course calendar_Page_1

AW09 course calendar_Page_2

Can’t load the pdf? Here’s a list of courses we’re running:

October 14th – REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene Certificate (9am-5pm, Golf Practice Centre) £80 (ex VAT)

October 27th – Scottish Certificate for the Responsible Sale of Alcohol (10am-1pm, Rufflets Hotel) £62.50 (ex VAT)

November 4th – Scottish Certificate for the Responsible Sale of Alcohol (10am-1pm, Rufflets Hotel) £62.50 (ex VAT)

November 19th – REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene Certificate (9am-5pm, Golf Practice Centre) £80 (ex VAT)

December 3rd – Emergency First Aid at Work (9am-5pm, Rufflets Hotel) £84 (ex VAT)

January 14th – St Andrews Standard (full-day, Rufflets Hotel) £tbc

January 15th – Emergency First Aid at Work (9am-5pm, Rufflets Hotel) £84 (ex VAT)

February 9th – Scottish Certificate for the Responsible Sale of Alcohol (10am-1pm, Rufflets Hotel) £62.50 (ex VAT)

February 25th – St Andrews Standard (full-day, Rufflets Hotel) £tbc

March 4th – REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene Certificate (9am-5pm, Golf Practice Centre) £80 (ex VAT)

March 9th – St Andrews Standard (full-day, Rufflets Hotel) £tbc

Can’t find a course you’re looking for? Search our website, or contact the Skills Academy, and we will try to source some quality training for you.

Delivering Service Excellence – what’s it all about?

July 6, 2009

Last week I had the pleasure of observing one of the famed 100 Thousand Welcomes courses, run by one of our approved training providers, Ian Hunt.   Ian had kindly agreed to let me sit in on his day-long ‘Delivering Service Excellence’ session so that I would be able to pass on first-hand experience of the course.

The day started at 9.15 am, as attendees began to drift into the airy Champions’ Room at the Golf Practice Centre, St Andrews. Tea, coffee, shortbread and Ian all stood by ready to welcome them.  By 9.30 all the participants had assembled and Ian took the floor. From the start the day was very dynamic and participative, but also very objective focussed. After outlining the topics for the day, Ian had each attendee introduce themselves with their name and place of work, but also with the most memorable, positive service experience of which they had been a part.

With this interactive slant, the delegates soon warmed up, as they worked in different groups to complete the various tasks that Ian had set (from a quiz about St Andrews and Scotland – including ‘Why is the thistle Scotland’s national emblem?’ and ‘How many top-class golf courses are within a ten-mile drive from St Andrews?’ – to creating a poster and presentation of the key factors of service excellence).

The day was broken up into five training sessions:

Session 1 – Fife and Scottish tourism

Session 2 – Meeting and exceeding customer and guest expectations

Break – tea, coffee, and homemade scones

Session 3 – How to demonstrate a Positive Attitude

Lunch – soup and sandwiches at the Eden Clubhouse

Session 4 – Dealing with feedback (taking appropriate action and recording)

Break – more tea, coffee and shortbread

Session 5 – Improving in the future

Before lunch, participants were asked to reflect on their current work practices, rating themselves and looking for ways in which they could further strive for service excellence. Before leaving, the delegates filled out an action plan to take back into their workplaces and work on with their employers. Only if they send the completed forms back to Ian would participants receive their ‘Delivering Service Excellence’ certification.

A big thank you to all the employers who supported the St Andrews Skills Academy by sending along delegates, to Dorothy Murphy and the lovely staff at the Golf Practice Centre for accommodating us so seamlessly again, and of course to Ian for providing a fantastic training experience for attendees and observers alike!

If you would be interested in sending your staff on a 100k Welcomes course, or in attending yourself, please visit the St Andrews Skills Academy website or leave comments below.

The training provider assessment panel

June 2, 2009

This week, we’ve been travelling around St Andrews and the East Neuk, introducing our training provider assessment process to the employers who will be helping us to form our assessment panel.  We have representatives from ‘Stay in St Andrews’, St Andrews Bed and Breakfast Association, the Merchant’s Association, and the Fife Tourism Alliance, each of whom has kindly volunteered their time to help us mark the applications from training providers who want to list their courses on the St Andrews Skills Academy website.

The first person we met was Ben McLeod, manager of the House Restaurants in St Andrews. He was good enough to drag himself away from his restaurants during the lunchtime rush to meet us in the Gateway Centre. Representing the Merchants’ Association, Ben turned up looking like the epitome of cool, with beautiful leather accessories and a casual shirt.

Straight after meeting Ben, we headed over to the Old Course Hotel, where we sat in the beautifully appointed library, sipping cappucinos and nibbling homemade shortbread.  You might be forgiven for thinking that we were taking an afternoon break, but actually, these were just the luxurious surroundings for a strictly business call to Anna Maciver, the Senior Training Specialist at the Old Course Hotel, and the second member of our employer panel, representating ‘Stay in St Andrews’.

Later on, I met with Ken Lawson, the charming owner of the Spindrift Guesthouse in Anstruther.  He leads the Fife Tourism Alliance, and kindly offered his time to help us with the assessments, despite his tastefully decorated guesthouse being one of the busiest in the East Neuk. Spending around ten minutes summarizing the assessment procedure, I stayed with Ken for about another twenty minutes discussing the Fife tourism climate and setting the world (or the East Neuk, at least) to rights.

Finally, to James Yule, chairman of the Bed & Breakfast Association, and owner of Braeside House Bed & Breakfast.  Extremely efficient but also highly competent, James grasped the process within minutes of my arrival, which meant that I could only enjoy the embrace of his exceptionally comfortable sofa for a very wee while.

This might sound like all play and no work, but we at the St Andrews Skills Academy think that it is vital to have the voices of employers on this assessment panel.  Employers are the ones who will be using the training providers listed on our site, and so employers should have a say in deciding which providers should be approved. The four people who have so generously volunteered their expertise to our assessment panel are going to be helping us to maintain that vital employer focus.

At the same time, we don’t want to disadvantage any training providers, so we’ve made the assessment process completely anonymous. Training providers send me their application forms, and I remove any personal or business names, replacing them instead with a unique identifying code.

I then send the new, anonymous file, out to the panel.  They fill out an online marksheet for each application code.  The panel gives marks out of 5 for three different areas: ‘Sector and Employer Engagement’, ‘Feedback and Evaluation Procedures’ and ‘Meeting and Exceeding Client Expectations’.  A total mark of 9/15 or more entails a pass, and training providers who achieve this are approved to appear on our website.

We’re currently in the process of marking our first eight new applicants, and most these will be entering our website within a few weeks of the launch.  Watch this space!