Gary Ennis, NSDesignGary Ennis is Founder and Managing Director of NS Design an award winning digital agency based in Hillington, Glasgow. The company provides internet services and consultancy to more than 10,000 businesses worldwide.

Gary graduated from Strathclyde University back in 1997 with a degree in Architecture (specialising in Graphic Design and Multimedia). After spending 6 months as an assistant manager in a busy bar/restaurant where he gained experience in customer service, communication and team building in 1998 he launched NSDesign.

An early adopter of social media, Gary quickly realised the benefits and opportunities for businesses and identified the need for SME’s to understand and integrate it into their existing marketing and communications strategies.

‘Embrace the Space’ the company’s flagship social media workshop was born. Led by Gary and his colleague Colin Kelly, to date over 1,000 businesses have participated in the day long training course.

Today, Gary spends most of his time training others in social media and digital marketing, hosting workshops, seminars, speaking at (and hosting) conferences, offering 1-2-1 consulting, mentoring and much more. So, Gary does a lot of training but aside from having an impressive array of business accolades to his name until recently he hasn’t been a ‘qualified’ trainer.

In July 2016, Gary was awarded SVQ 4 in Learning and Development at SCQF level 9.

Like a true Digital Marketeer he took to his blog to post news of his achievement:

Today, after nearly 9 months of ‘study’, I now have a professional qualification to add to my CV.

Recognised globally in the Learning & Development (L&D) sector, level 9 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework is broadly comparable to a Degree, so it’s a big achievement, and one I’m proud to have accomplished.

A few people in recent months have asked me why I’m bothering.  ‘You’re already a trainer’.  ‘You don’t need it’.  And they were right.  I probably do more training than most qualified L&D Practitioners, and actually – in recent months, the last thing I actually needed was adding to my already manic workload with the hassles that go with study.

So why did I bother?

The truth is – I wanted the title on my CV for vanity purposes.  I wanted to have the qualification so I could list it on tender responses where it asks for “relevant qualifications” (listing my Architecture Degree is hardly relevant!).  I wanted an accolade recognised within aspects of the training and L&D world so I had an educational achievement to go alongside my years of ‘on the job’ practical experience.  I wanted it because I figured that with my experience of actually running training sessions on an almost daily basis – that getting it would be a walk in the park.  I wanted it because I could then call myself an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and have more cool letters after my name (Assoc CIPD).  I wanted it for all the wrong reasons.

But a funny thing happened.

I realised very quickly after starting the course, that I was enjoying it.  Not just enjoying it – but learning from it.  I began to look forward to my time with Margo my tutor from Training Matters an approved SQA, CMI and ILM centre.  I quickly saw the benefit of her challenging me at every opportunity, questioning why I did things, and encouraging me to look at things differently.

I started taking what I was learning, and using it in live training scenarios.  I began to improve the way I planned for training workshops, developing better processes for working out client’s training needs analysis (TNA), and planning suitable learning and development resources based on different learning styles.

I forced myself to block out slots in my diary for my own Professional Development, and began keeping a record of all the events and learning activities I was attending myself to improve my own skillset, while allowing me to benchmark my methods of training against others.

I introduced new systems of evaluation, new ideas for groupwork, new resources, and a whole new innovation framework which will help ensure I keep taking the business as a whole down the right path.  All this and a whole lot more.

In the end, I wasn’t just doing it for the certificate (no matter how pretty it looks!) – I was doing it because it was making me, and my training better.

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