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Corinne Brown

Corinne Brown is the Business Development Manager at Shrewsbury Colleges Group, and she has been in her current role for 18 years.

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY DO? Most people think they know what a college does, but my department is often a bit of a mystery. We are the commercial arm of the college, and our customers are employers.  By working together, we help to improve their business through training.

EXPLAIN A TYPICAL WEEK IN YOUR WORKING LIFE: It’s difficult to pin down a typical week, however, emails and meetings invariably fill a big part. The wide variety comes with employer visits, tendering for work, sales activity and attending network meetings.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING YOUR INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW? The Apprenticeship Levy. Since this was introduced in April 2017, it has proved to be pretty inflexible when it comes to the wide variety of staff training employers need.

AND WHAT ARE THE BIG OPPORTUNITIES? Conversely the Apprenticeship Levy! It encourages more employers to recruit apprentices which has to be a good thing.

HOW DO YOU GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR STAFF? Through supportive management. We talk regularly, help each other, allow flexibility in the working week and generally try to see the funny side wherever possible.

WHAT WAS YOUR LAST MEETING ABOUT, HOW LONG DID IT LAST, AND WAS IT PRODUCTIVE? We had a meeting this afternoon that lasted 2.5 hours which is unusual but really productive: looking at what we do well; how we can improve; and where our focus needs to be.

HOW MANY EMAILS DO YOU GET IN A DAY, AND HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO READ THEM? I hadn’t actually ever thought about how many, but I probably average around 80 a day. By the end of the week I’ve generally cleared them down – having read them first!

DO YOU ANSWER WORK CALLS OR EMAILS AT HOME? WHAT’S THE RIGHT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? Whilst it is tempting to take any outstanding work home, for me, I make the effort to stay late at the office and clear my work instead. That said, I do have a habit of checking LinkedIn before bed which is not a good routine.

HOW DO YOU HOPE YOUR COLLEAGUES WOULD DESCRIBE YOU? We once did this as an exercise after a workshop, where we all anonymously left 3 positive words that described each of our colleagues. They were placed in personal envelopes to take home. The majority of my words were ‘calm’ and ‘good listener’ so I was happy with that.

BREXIT – WHAT’S YOUR VIEW OF WHAT IT’S ALL GOING TO MEAN? With skills shortages in Shropshire, so often over the years we have recognised excellent apprentices who happen to also be EU nationals. They have really made a significant, positive difference to their companies and of course, as business people, we all know that the impact of that goes way beyond just that individual, and benefits the business community as a whole.

HIGHLIGHTS OR LOWLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Being presented with the Training Quality Standard by Sir Ranulph Fiennes has to be up there. We worked so hard to get that standard and this just made it that bit more special. Nearly two years ago, a much loved colleague died suddenly. It’s really hard to dust yourself off and get on with the day job when she had brought such joy to our daily working lives.  

PET HATES? That too many people presume that all young people are lazy, feckless, ill-mannered snowflakes who spend all day looking at their phones. Maybe we are lucky at Shrewsbury Colleges Group, but I find that when the vast majority of them are treated as adults and given grown-up responsibilities, they apply themselves diligently and have much to be proud of.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF SOME WISE ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Buy some shares in Google.

HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK? I’m involved with the Shrewsbury Film Society, so I watch lots of international films for consideration in our forthcoming programmes.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE SHROPSHIRE BUSINESS COMMUNITY? They are extremely supportive when the going gets a bit tough. I consider many of them to be friends.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY WOULDN’T KNOW.  Tommy Cooper visited my parents pub back in the 70’s and taught me some magic tricks!

YOU CAN TAKE ONE BOOK, ONE FILM AND ONE CD ONTO A DESERT ISLAND – WHAT WOULD THEY BE? Desert Island Discs is one of my favourite programmes, so this is an easy question as I’ve already planned my list. Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Cinema Paradiso, and James Morrison's Undiscovered.

YOUR FIVE DREAM DINNER PARTY GUESTS, DEAD OR ALIVE? Jon Hamm, Michelle Obama, Jan Ravens, Michael Palin, Billy Connolly.

WHAT WOULD YOU COOK FOR THEM…? I would hire a chef, so I could ‘get to know’ Jon Hamm before the others arrived!

https://www.yarrington.co.uk

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