Watch David's story

Play Video
David James - video still

Key skills required:

  • entrepreneurial
  • passion for learning
  • influencing and negotiating skills

Duties include:

  • starting and growing your business
  • working with clients to achieve objectives
  • researching and creating training programmes

What is your role?

I’m co-founder of WeCommend which is a website to help in-house learning and development people find the right external partners by successful track records. I got to that because I’m a learning and development professional, having just left Disney as Director of Learning and Talent after an eight year stint there. I knew that I wanted to test myself with my own business. I just didn’t know quite what that would be. I wasn’t until about a year ago that I started to think about that next step and what we might do as our own business.

How did you first get into L&D?

I love learning myself and I think that’s why I got into learning and development in the first place. I think I was scratching my own itch and I was learning all this stuff, and then I found a role that helped me to learn as well as apply. But there’s also, on the other side of that, loving to inspire people and help do things better, one person at a time or a department at a time.

What is learning and development about for you?

I think learning and development is about thriving in different environments, not necessarily just surviving. There are times when I’ve worked for organisations when the training budget has been cut and then we become more innovative and creative in our solutions. Our role is to facilitate learning to a desired outcome where learning can take place, and will very naturally take place, but it will be perhaps less outcome driven. I think that’s what we bring as a specialism, as a set of skills and a mind-set to organisations.

What sort of skills do you need to be successful in L&D?

I think the type of skills people need to work in L&D are to be good with people. I think you need to be a natural learner. I think it helps if you are naturally curious as well and open to new ideas and ways of thinking. I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to explore this. Just got on the internet, have a look, meet people. LinkedIn makes it easy to meet people – if you shoot five messages out to people I’m sure two people will come back and agree to have a phone call or a coffee. Just meet people, read and gain experience.

Top