West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges

9 December 2019

Pro-Development: People development with a difference

Pro-Development has been delivering successful training programmes through The Skills Service for some time now. We caught up with their founder, Michelle Mook, who told us why their clients keep coming back for more.

Based in York, the team at Pro-Development are perfectly primed to support businesses in the Leeds City Region. In fact, their approach to supporting local businesses goes hand-in-hand with The Skills Service as they primarily work with SMEs in the Yorkshire and Humber area. Specialising in leadership, management, employee engagement and team building, they have a number of courses listed in the latest Skills Catalogue.

One of the things that makes Pro-Development different, is their drive to “make a difference” with every client. Pro-Development UK

Michelle Mook (Pro-Development Owner/Director) – “Making a difference is one of our biggest values. We only want to do things that make a difference, so we spend a lot of time with clients to gain an understanding of what that difference will be.

“We’ve been working with our longest serving client for eight years, we’ve been a part of their whole journey and we work with them every year. When you’ve got a relationship like this, and you see the business regularly, you can feel the difference you’ve made when you walk through the door.

“We also value honesty and integrity. If we don’t think we can do something for a client, then we won’t do it. Because of the relationships that we’ve built up over the years, there’s often another provider we know who can help our clients. I love being able to give work to other people and this honesty helps to build stronger relationships with our clients and other providers. As part of The Skills Service, we are in a position to refer clients with training needs that can be met by the offer in the Skills Catalogue, which is also eligible for ESF Funding.”

Some of Pro-Development’s courses on the Skills Catalogue are more than standard classroom learning. Their 21st Century Leaders course is experiential learning that delegates have been known to refer to as “life changing”. It’s a seven-month programme and each month sees delegates looking at a different aspect of leadership.

Michelle Mook explains how The Skills Service has allowed businesses to train more of their team, and how their experiential approach to leadership can have an impact,

“We’ve got a cohort of delegates going through the experiential 21st Century Leaders programme at the moment and at least two of the cohort have managed to fund their place on the programme through The Skills Service. For our SMEs, the ESF funding makes programmes like this more affordable or it gives them the opportunity to spread their budgets out for more learning. We have a leader on the programme who was going to go on the programme anyway, but the funding has enabled them to also put on a team event for other members of staff.

“It starts off with understanding more about ‘the self’ and how this influences the way you lead. We use a lot of different activities and we’ve even got a day where we just go out walking, this is because research shows that people are at their most creative when they’re walking and we get some really interesting things come out of these sessions. We also have a day where we work with horses, which is about the horses being the delegates’ team and how to lead that team. There’s another day where delegates tackle raft building and how teams come together in this situation. There’s even a day that includes a fire walk where participants walk over hot coals. So it is really different!

“Being listed in the Skills Catalogue makes everything so easy. The minute a client says yes to a course, we check the eligibility, fill in a form and they’re on the programme!

“I think what The Skills Service project is doing for the Leeds City Region is a great service that is easy for businesses to access. If you think about our values, “making a difference” and “honesty and integrity”, being able to offer The Skills Service funding ticks all of those boxes. It’s a no brainer and really helps build up relationships with clients.”

The Pro-Development courses that are being delivered through The Skills Service can be found through our Skills Catalogue. Eligible businesses can also access up to 40% funding towards these from the European Social Fund.

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