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Learning & Development

If you’re looking to improve the competence or confidence of the people in your organisation, we can help. Our practical learning programmes will increase the skills and effectiveness of people and teams at every level.

Through our work with hundreds of charities, not-for-profit and public sector organisations, we’ve developed almost 30 ready-to-use programmes. These programmes cover a wide range of topics, from Managing at a Distance to Project Management to Innovation and Resilience. All of these can be adapted to meet your needs, or we can work with you to design a fully bespoke offering. You’ll have a choice of delivery formats: from a high-energy introductory half-day online event to a year-long modular initiative complementing classroom sessions with blended learning such as coaching, action learning sets and structured assignments. If you’re looking for radical results we can provide in-depth support to create a shift in organisational culture or deliver complex organisational change.

Laura Slater, =mc Director standing in front of a flip chart while delivering training.

Tailored training solutions

Sometimes one of our well-established standard programmes isn’t exactly what you want. If so, we’re happy to work closely with you to design a bespoke solution and match the outcomes you want. Our specialisms include organisation-wide project management frameworks, cultural and organisational change, and leadership or management training for specific teams. In recent years we’ve also developed specialised programmes for customers on developing user experience, storytelling, resilience programmes and managing from a distance.

We work comfortably at all levels – including Boards – delivering training, facilitation, coaching and related consultancy. We also work internationally.

Our customers include housing – Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust; universities – City, University of London, Henley Business School; arts and culture organisations – Birmingham Hippodrome, RSC; local authorities – Hackney, Sussex & Surrey councils; and charities – British Red Cross, Marie Curie.

Theo Farrell, City University

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Online or face to face learning

We design and deliver our training programmes to ensure they are practical and engaging for all. Learning takes place in face-to-face classroom sessions or in our online virtual classroom. In both approaches we employ a wide range of delivery techniques to meet the learning needs of each participant. This ensures they are inspired by impactful learning which is applied directly to the real-work challenges and opportunities that they face.

Online learning with virtual classrooms

Online learning provides participants with flexible learning that enables them to work with colleagues and peers in different ways. Our trainers use Zoom in a secure way, providing tools, ideas, insights and examples.

Participants work in groups in break out rooms on activities, exercises and hold coaching conversations to share experiences and learn together.

Woman typing on computer at desk

There is also plenty of personal reflection, enabling everyone to apply tools and ask questions as they go.

The benefits of online learning are:

  • The only equipment your participants will need is a device where you can view documents, connect to the web, and use a camera and mic. Technical support is provided throughout so they don’t need to worry about the gear and can concentrate on the learning.
  • Your colleagues will be able to learn from anywhere giving greater flexibility and reducing travel or commuting time and costs
  • Our online learning days are shorter, in order to avoid screen fatigue. This means that learning can fit into busy schedules, allowing learning to be scheduled at a time that works for your team and their other commitments
  • Participants will be able to try out ideas, tools and activities to see how they work for them, and ask questions in a confidential setting
  • Participants will interact with others, sharing their ideas and getting feedback using break out rooms. Break out room conversations are private and confidentiality is assured

Online learning is particularly suited to:

  • Bite size and shorter workshops, either as standalone training events or as a series of linked modules
  • Personal skills development courses for small or large groups
  • Dispersed teams and groups who are located in different regions, areas or even time zones

Face-to-face learning – classroom learning at your office or external venue

Working with colleagues and peers in a classroom is an energising, engaging and enjoyable experience. Our trainers take a blended approach: providing contemporary strategic thinking combined with practical exploration of management issues, including group and pair work to share participants learning and experience with others.

The benefits of face to face learning are:

  • Being in a dedicated learning space removes participants from day-to-day work distractions, enabling them to focus and enrich their knowledge, skills and abilities
  • They will hear from others around them to shape their thinking, and share experiences
  • Participants will apply learning straight away, and be able to experiment with new approaches – in a comfortable environment
  • They will have time with their facilitator, enabling them to be challenged to think and work differently, and feel supported in doing so
  • Your participants will build relationships with their colleagues, developing a network of ongoing support and breaking down silos, as they collaborate and solve problems together

Face to face learning is particularly suited to:

  • Team development programmes, and supporting groups of staff to come together in your organisation
  • Bespoke and tailored learning programmes to directly address organisational needs
  • Modular development programmes, enabling participants to continue to come together and share learning at multiple events

Our trainers will put in place social-distancing measures to ensure participants are safe and comfortable in when together in a classroom.  To enable this, we require a risk-assessment for each training venue, and can provide this for you.  To prepare for face-to-face learning, we will consider work with you to create a safe and comfortable learning environment:

We need to consider the following factors when getting ready for face-to-face learning:
  • Venue size and shape – this helps us determine how many participants can join the programme
  • Break out rooms and areas – this helps us determine ways in which we can facilitate group work and activities
  • Your policies, furniture and facilities – this helps us determine room layout, hygiene measures and break times
  • Learning approaches – this helps us engage participants through group work and activities, adapted to enable social distancing
Every venue is different and we will work with you and your facilities team to make sure all necessary precautions are taken.
Share any relevant health and safety policies with us to ensure we can comply with your safety requirements. For example, you may have a policy on mask wearing. We will want to know how used to face-to-face working your participants are. We also need to know any participant has any concerns about being in a physical space with colleagues, so that we can review ways to support them. Let us know if anyone has any learning accessibility needs or if there are any adjustments we can make to either our approach or the learning materials.
We will work with you before the programme to make sure the venue is suitable, and participants know what to expect. We will send information documents in advance. All training materials will be delivered a week in advance so they can be kept securely and sealed until the training day. On the day itself, we will arrive early to make sure the venue is set up correctly. When participants arrive we will explain the measures to them and check they are comfortable. Group work and activities will be adapted so that participants are safe throughout the programme. We will report afterwards and provide recommendations.
Participants need to feel safe and comfortable. We will be open to their concerns and support them on the day. We can adapt our approach, timing and materials as needed. Face-to-face learning works best when participants can share their experiences and discuss their learning in a confidential setting. To enable this, we will use support sensitive conversations.
If our trainers are unwell before, during, or after the programme we will make you aware so that participants can be contacted. If participants are unwell before the programme they will be asked to not attend. If participants are unwell during or after the programme we ask that you make us aware.
If the venue won’t work for the learning outcomes you are trying to achieve, then we may be able to switch the programme to an online format. We will work with you to identify the best way to deliver your programme online. Alternatively, you may decide to postpone the course until a future date.
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Coaching, facilitation, away days and action learning

You may need support for a very particular challenge – an individual who needs help to deal with a specific issue, or a team who would benefit from a structured intervention to help them identify an effective way forward. In each case a skilled outsider can act independently and objectively.

=mc has a team of trained and skilled coaches and facilitators able to offer structured support to individuals and groups. We can provide this support for a one-off, high impact session or as part of a rolling programme.

Coaching enables others to realise their potential and develop confidence as part of the process. Individuals are offered a safe, confidential and empowering environment where coaching is used to challenge existing working practices and introduce alternative approaches. Or it can be used to provide a sounding board for new ideas and challenges or to work on embedding specific skills. =mc coaching has helped organisations such as Amnesty InternationalSightsaversNSPCC and Medway CouncilClick here to learn more about 1:1 coaching.


Facilitation and team away days enable teams to problem solve, create innovative new approaches or make decisions. The most effective approach ensures true participation and creates tangible action plans that can be taken forward. =mc facilitation has used this approach to tackle complex issues for Diabetes UK, Into Film, and Anthony Nolan.

Action Learning Is a process that supports the on-going development of groups of people (or Sets).

Unlike training or workshops, Action Learning Sets are not trainer-lead. Instead, these are sessions in which participants are encouraged to work together on real-work challenges, helping each other to resolve these and take action. Our facilitators enable sets by providing a framework and facilitating three initial sets. Groups are then empowered and have the confidence to form self-managing groups. This process creates continuous development and promotes collaboration across organisational boundaries. =mc has used this approach to support management and leadership development at Evolve Housing + Support, and the MS Society

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Blended Learning

We take a blended learning approach in all of our programmes, and firmly believe in the 70:20:10 principle (70% of learning is experiential, 20% of learning is with peers and 10% of learning is formally taught). Whether online or face-to-face our programmes include tutor led input (providing theories, tools, models and examples), working with peers (in group activities, giving and receiving feedback and co-coaching discussions), and applying ideas to real work situations.

To add value from your training days, we can provide support participants to embed their learning in the following ways:

  • Self-directed programme preparation, such as reading material and structured reflective practice
  • Line manager briefings which encouraging pre and post programme discussions
  • Peer to peer mentoring support – both during and after the programme, encouraging ‘on the job’ development
  • Online and printed support materials that document learning, which participants can take away including a list of further resources and reading
  • Online additional support and application of the programme content through dedicated web portals, recorded webinars, guided exercises, downloadable templates, case studies and further resources
  • Facilitation of action learning sets or coaching circles
  • Post programme work assignments, particularly effective on modular programmes, where participants present back key learnings
  • Follow up emails to support participant in their learning journey after they leave the classroom
  • Post programme telephone coaching – available to all participants and at no extra cost, to address specific questions related to the programme and how to apply their learning

We have delivered blended learning solutions for customers such as MS Society, Evolve Housing and Support and Macmillan Cancer Support.

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Formal recognition

Many of our programmes are recognised by The Institute of Leadership as Institute Approved. This means that they have been assessed by The Institute and meet their high standards for quality learning.

Participants who attend Approved programmes can also have their attendance on the programme recognised. The benefits of Institute Approved recognition include:

  • A certificate for completing the programme, marking their professional development
  • Additional benefits for participants (provided by The Institute):
    • Free Student Membership for one year – which will convert to Professional Membership (Associate) on completion of the course
    • Digital credential confirming professional grade, allowing the use of AMInstLM after participant’s names
    • Access to the My Leadership, The Institute’s award-winning digital learning resources
    • Access to events, professional seminars and webinars
    • Access to a community of over 30,000 leaders
    • Access to Edge online(The Institute’s online digital journal)
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Performance & assessment

At the heart of success sits performance and at =mc we’ve worked with every kind of organisation to help transform performance. We have a range of tools and frameworks to help you build up a picture of competencies and competence at individual, team, department or whole organisation level.

Among the tools we offer are:

  • Good to Great, an assessment framework based on Jim Collins’ book, with a linked training programme
  • Leadership, Practices Inventory: Kouzes and Posner’s 5 elements model – suitable for senior teams
  • =mc’s Competency Assessment Tool: looks at the key skills needed by a Board or senior team
  • Emotionally intelligent Leadership: to establish your appropriate leadership style, based on EI
  • Social Styles: a simple, practical tool for understanding differences so that everyone’s strengths are respected and used well

We can offer most of these tools as 360º assessments using secure online platforms.

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Outplacement Services

What are outplacement services?

Outplacement services support employees in transitioning to a new role. At =mc we provide a confidential, safe and encouraging environment to help your colleagues to build their confidence, hone their job search technique and move forward with their career development. Our experienced consultants provide practical advice and examples, suited to those looking for roles across the charity and non-profit sector. 

Benefits for your organisation

Providing career development and job-hunting support to your employees can reduce the negative impact of a work-based change. Whether you are restructuring, redeploying, promoting, growing or downsizing; both exiting and retained staff may need additional support to manage their transition. Using =mc as your trusted partner means your colleagues can be confident they will have an empathetic ear and a confidential experience with the benefit of insight from across the charity and not-for-profit sector. We will work closely with you to put together a tailored package of support that directly addresses the individual challenges that your employees are facing,

Benefits for your colleagues

Outplacement outcomes depend largely on the aims of individuals and the support levels provided.  Broadly speaking, outplacement can support individuals to:

  • Plan career development and job hunting more effectively
  • Improve CV writing and application skills
  • Learn how to identify and act on their own development needs
  • Improve their personal performance in interviews and presentations
  • Have greater sense of self-awareness
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Have improved confidence
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