The Hire Association Europe and Event Hire Association (HAE, EHA) selected UWE Bristol for a partnership to help develop the ILM Level 5 Leadership and Management qualification for the hire industry.

HAE EHA are the industry leading trade association for plant, tool and event hire across their sectors. They assist businesses, from sole traders to larger independent and privately owned organisations, by providing operational resources, services and benefits to support the hire and event industries.

The partnership for this pilot programme began in October 2016 with the first module “Becoming an Effective Leader”.

The course is aimed at individuals who wish to progress into hire business management. The modules cover:

  • Effective leadership
  • Motivating People
  • Financial decisions
  • Recruitment
  • Customer relations

This current course is being undertaken by 15 candidates from tool, equipment and event hire member companies.

Lynda Williams, Associate Director for Professional Programmes within UWE Bristol’s engagement centre commented:

“The course is assignment based with a practical focus, underpinned withy study strategies that reinforce the learning process. Delivered by experienced academics and consultants with students given access to supplementary e-learning resources and current research papers.” 

Thoughts from the students:

Aoibhe Murphy from STS Access:

“I like this course because it’s about leadership. I know a lot of experienced managers but not many experienced leaders, which I’ve observed, is something that’s become important, especially amongst people of my generation.

I hope to gain more knowledge which will help me progress, this is key for me as I’m aiming to be a director one day.

The team at UWE are brilliant, Inge and Graham made our whole group feel very welcome and at ease. I’m pleased that we’re doing the study away from the workplace as it allows us to focus on the learning properly, not to mention we get access to all the resources at UWE which is very useful.

I’m coping okay with the level of learning, but I’m not long out of University myself, whereas some of the other delegates haven’t studied for around twenty years, so I’m finding it less of a shock to the system!

In those first sessions I really took on board the part about motivating my colleagues, which the guys at work are hearing a lot about, and feeling the benefit! I’ve tried to create a happy atmosphere here, I’ve got Christmas music already and we have sweets all-round the depot!

I am 100% committed to completing this course because I want to go on to the level 7 and keep learning! I would recommend this course to any manager wanting to progress, it’s been really beneficial to me.”

Terry McGuinness from Allens Catering Hire Service:

“I started on this course because I wanted the opportunity to further develop and learn new leadership skills. Our business is growing and we really need to attract and retain good people and to do that you need good leaders.

Initially I wasn’t sure what I would take away from the course but already feel it has helped me use different management tools, and helped me understand how to better manage my colleagues. I’ve gained a better understanding of myself and where I need to develop.

The first day was intense, there was a lot of information to absorb! The course is well organised and there was great information delivered to us beforehand, but they got through a lot of content in that first week and it took some adjustment – I’ve not been in education for a long time!

The learning has made me look at aspects of my style of leadership; where I’m getting it right and also where I can change or improve. Even in this first week, I’ve found what we’ve been taught to be beneficial and I would recommend it to others.”

Tony Wood from Artisan Hire:

“The facilities at UWE are fantastic, and our lecturers have been very motivational and supportive; Inge, Graham and Paul are always going over and above the call of duty! If I need help I have their direct email addresses, I can send them drafts of my assignments and they offer me one-on-one support and feedback.

I’m really pleased to have passed all three of the first modules on this course, I honestly can’t believe how well I’ve done! Whatever happens I do feel I’ve gained a lot of new knowledge and overall, the whole experience has been very worthwhile.

The things I’ve learned about leadership and motivating people have given me a new perspective at work. I’ve learned to take a more moderate view of things, and be more positive with people. I’m better at understanding how some people need managing differently, things that motivate some won’t motivate others, and that can be down to all sorts of factors like people’s age or experience.

It is a hard course but it is has been worth it. I’ve had my eyes opened to new ideas and it’s made me look at myself. I feel I’ve become a better manager already, and I have an improved relationship with my colleagues.”

Graham Arundell, Managing Director of HAE commented on the partnership:

“Equipping people with qualifications, transferable skills and knowledge will undoubtedly develop professionalism and competence ultimately improving and driving the hire sector forward.”

Graham Baker who helped deliver the course commented on what has been learnt from the first HAE EHA programme:

“Practice is just as important as theory

Behind every practice is usually a theory but real life is the perfect way of understanding theory, critiquing it and developing it. Theory only acts as a simplification of life; it allows us to make sense of real experiences and in turn these real experiences allow for their testing.

Engagement with real businesses and business experiences is vital for a university. It develops links and understanding which benefits both sides. For academics it means we are able to see a whole new range of experiences which can be used in teaching or research and the relationships created are mutually beneficial.

It gives us pleasure to see how quickly students start discussing common issues and moving from the surface to the deeper ideas behind situations at work. Students quickly start to reframe work practices and see them through new lenses. This form of work based leaning allows for mutual development between academic professionals and practice professionals.

We have however also learned it is not easy for students to go back to the workplace and in the madness of everyday management, try to apply and try out their new ideas. Very quickly it seems they are pulled back to ‘Business as Usual’, which again could be related to change theory where it is argued that change is difficult to implement because it is often easier to fall back on tried and tested ways of managing and leading as opposed to putting energy into ‘change’. This has shown us that classroom ideas and insights need reiteration and encouragement to be implemented and learning sets or coaching could be a way to support and consolidate the classroom learning.

We learned that as academics, used to teaching undergraduates on ‘term time’ programmes, we need to adjust our teaching and our approach to the professionals and experience we have in the room. We need to build on existing knowledge and existing skills and acknowledge that although we are seen as the experts, the expertise is in fact shared amongst those in the room; shared amongst all of us. As such we need to be open to learning as much as the candidates need to be open to learning. The learning comes from a mutual respect, genuine interest and openness to share ideas and experiences. Transmitting knowledge from a PowerPoint stand at the front of the room is not the way to work together.”

The delegates will be presented with their certificates at Hire Trade Fair and Convention in October.

HAE and EHA will be running a second a course starting in January.