By Max Clarke

Ford Retail, the world’s largest Ford dealer group, has selected Stonebow, People 1st’s training company, to train in-house training specialists embedded in its HR and finance departments. Ford Retail is one of the first organisations in the automobile industry to develop the skills of non-HR, in-house trainers in order to enhance companywide training programmes. Stonebow’s Group Training Certificate (GTC) programme was selected by Ford Retail because it is recognised as one of the UK’s best train the trainer courses and is delivered to a national benchmark.

Stonebow’s national accreditation enables Ford Retail’s trainers to train any of its 3000 employees in-house, across 60 different sites.

The decision by Ford Retail to invest in the GTC programme is indicative of a growing trend for businesses to train managers outside the HR department to deliver specialist training across the organisation. Research from People 1st found that 51% of employers have moved more training in-house as a result of the recession. Ford Retail’s trainers will now be able to deliver structured accounting and finance training to managers across the organisation.

John Roberts, HR director at Ford Retail commented: “It is important that our in-house training programmes are of the highest standard whilst being cost-effective to implement. That is why we selected Stonebow as it is recognised as having one of the best train the trainer programmes in the country and it is underpinned by a quality assurance process to ensure the programme’s effectiveness. I have taken this approach in a number of companies and it has always delivered the results. I like the idea of giving line managers a skill for life and having the resources in house.”

Sharon Glancy, managing director of Stonebow said: “At a time when companies are looking to get the best bang for their training buck, in-house training offers an excellent cost effective solution. That is why it is important to ensure that the in-house trainers receive a nationally recognised programme to give them the skills and assurance when conducting their own sessions. Ford Retail’s decision to include trainers from finance demonstrates their confidence in Stonebow’s GTC to deliver training excellence not just to the traditional HR function, but to other business departments. Needless to say we are delighted to be able to help Ford Retail roll out its excellent in-house training programme.”

Stonebow delivered the programme for Ford Retail with its training partner MCL Associates. Other companies that use Stonebow’s GTC programme include DHL, William Hill and National Express.

John Roberts concludes: “Training and development plays a crucial role in our company and for a multi-site organisation, we wanted to guarantee consistency in our training — across departments too. For this reason we also included the finance department along with HR, which is a unique approach within our sector.”