AssessCASE STUDIES - BAE Development Centres

Ian Walker
Programme Manager - Typhoon Mission Support & International Programmes
Warton Aerodrome

Having started life in the early 1980s when it was developed to take over from the Tornado, the Eurofighter Typhoon is the main fighter aircraft for the RAF squadrons. It is built on a multi-partner basis, with British, Spanish, German and Italian teams all involved and is regarded as one of the best fighter aircrafts in the world. Typhoon has now merged with other parts of the business and also includes Tornado and Hawk aeroplane — a workforce of some 6,000.

Liz McCormac at MD&T originally started work with BAE Systems in October 2005 with a brief to make their recruitment process more effective. Since then they have been making use of the Assess system in order to make training and development more effective.

As Programme Manager — Typhoon Mission Support and International Programmes — Ian Walker’s focus was on the key Project Management Executives.

The programme:

BAE’s Project Management Executives have highly complex roles with a vast range of responsibilities. Ian was tasked with devising a support programme for them that would identify their needs and help the individuals develop.

Ian developed a programme that looked at CVs, set a group exercise, a technical test and also used the Assess tool to provide development reports. Prior to 2006 the company had used other types of psychometric testing reports but, while these provided a snapshot of an individual, the results did not relate to any of the key competencies and skills the jobs entailed. They were open to interpretation in a way that Assess isn’t. Thanks to Liz McCormac at MD&T the Assess programme was developed around the key competencies needed by the Project Management Executives. It’s a thorough and comprehensive programme and so far 300 members of staff have been put through it.

The results:

Ian says: “MD&T has looked specifically at the Project Management Executives development programme and tailored their service to our needs. For example, the testing is aligned to our company priorities — key things like developing others, continual improvement and customer focus — are all built-in and examined by the testing procedure. The reports that are generated are flexible — we can, for example, run an individual against a higher grade setting to look at their talent potential as well as any development gaps. Another benefit is that the reports are instant. As soon as candidates hit the last button we can start to receive the reports. This speed means we can help interviewers prepare properly.

“The information is clear for the candidates to understand and the development points are there for them to see. The feedback provided is excellent and clear. It isn’t based on the interpretation of the manager. It’s independent and it has genuine relevance for the individuals because it relates directly to the core competencies and key priorities.

“We are so impressed we are now looking at the other end of the spectrum of the workforce. We are introducing a development programme around the trainees — aged between 18 and 23. With Liz’s help and guidance we will be able to modify the model and set development programmes.”

The programme developed by Ian and Liz was submitted for the company’s prestigious Chairman’s Award.

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