Training event at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

During our “What are people saying about administrators campaign?” we went along to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to host a training event for administrative professionals within the school and university. The event was kindly organised with Paula Harding, an IAM member who reached out to us about the possibility of arranging an event for some of their administrative staff. 

We have developed good relationships with many different trainers and speakers who cover an array of topics and for this event, based on the attendees and proposed subject matter, we invited specialist PA and Executive Support trainer Adam Fidler. 

Following a talk from the IAM General Manager Andrew, Adam shared his perspectives on business support roles in today’s workplace. He covered 3 main topics which included: 

  • Leadership styles and how working at the “right level” builds credibility. 
  • Reverse-mentoring for a better boss/EA dynamic
  • How top EAs support the transition of their executives in their journey to be more effective leaders. 

We caught up with Paula, to get some more insight over what she thinks about the professional development opportunities for administrative professionals 

Do you think employers are aware/know the types of training they can send their administrative staff on?

I think there is a complete mix of employers out there.  Some are very current and completely aware.  On the other hand there are many employers who don’t offer anything and are completely unaware of the latest trends and needs of their employees. Obviously organisations have differing budgets and confinements depending on its sector, however, with the internet there are so many unique, cost-effective opportunities that were not available in the past.

How do you think employers prioritise training for their admin staff in comparison to other professionals? 

I definitely can speak from experience in that admin staff, in my opinion, tend to be left out of training opportunities or not thought of as a priority.  Whereas the opposite should be true, an effective organisation is only as good as its support staff.  I often say to my executive that he wouldn’t have the time to do his science if he didn’t have his support staff.  It’s usually a tongue in cheek conversation but he takes the point.  Support staff are more likely to move around employers if they feel unappreciated and offering training is a fantastic way to show your colleagues that you appreciate them.

If you were to ask someone what CPD would they send an admin professional on, what response do you think you would get? 

I imagine the reply would contain the more traditional courses from the past such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and courses for soft skills such as assertiveness, time management etc.  Nowadays, the latest training includes influencing, critical thinking, AI, project management, managing up, managing social media and many, many more. 

Do you think there are any barriers for admin staff engaging with CPD?

I often get asked how I can afford all the training I take part in.  There is a perception that it costs a lot of money.  That is partly true, there are lots of courses out there that are expensive, but equally I find many opportunities to learn which don’t cost too much, even free resources can be found online. 

What development opportunities would you like to see for admin professionals? 

Anything that is current. Middle manager skills should be offered to support staff, organisations need to use their resources effectively and they have a talented pool of colleagues if only they invested in them.

Final Comments….

My role is Executive Assistant and I joined the IAM as I knew I would be able to locate the latest information and training for less than £10 a month.  The IAM encourages assistants to learn middle management skills and actively hold affordable events on these topics and provide relevant resources on their website.

I had attended IAM events in Manchester which I enjoyed, however, I wanted to know why I couldn’t do this in my hometown of Liverpool.  I worked with Andrew Jardine, IAM’s General Manager, and we arranged for sessions to start being held in Liverpool.  Almost 40 assistants attended the event with Andrew Jardine, and IAM partner and EA trainer, Adam Fidler.  Adam is highly regarded in the assistant world and it was fantastic that assistants in Liverpool had the opportunity to meet him and listen to his presentation.  Andrew and Adam are a great duo and it is always a pleasure spending a couple of hours with them. I was delighted that they both came to Liverpool and the feedback from the assistants was ‘more of this please’.  I’m happy to say they are both coming back to Liverpool in November 2018, happy days.

You can keep up to date with the latest IAM events on our website, or, if you are a member via the member portal. If you would like to find out more about organising an event with us, then we would love to hear from you to find out more about your requirements. Get in touch with us at: or on 01952 797396

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