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So you want to be a L&D Head

Learning and development (L&D) jobs are very popular but are also relatively rare. Part of the reason for this is the nature of the job – not every organisation will have a head of learning and development.

The exception to this is often in banking and professional services as most of these organisations tend to have a head of learning and development.

Development strategy

The head of learning and development is often seen internally as someone who delivers training, but this is rarely the case in reality. Typically, professionals in this role will instead engage external vendors or have a team responsible for this. The head of learning and development is normally responsible for devising an overall development strategy for a company and its employees, and for being able to show that there will be a commercial return on any investment made.

As the head of learning and development, you would report to the HR director and would be expected to influence the board and senior managers at all levels to adopt and support effective approaches to learning and development. You will also be expected to be involved in succession planning and to support talent management.

Experience you'll need

You’ll need a clear specialist background in learning and development, as well as significant experience in a senior development role and of servicing a senior client base.

Most clients want specific industry experience. The financial services sector is a slight exception to this as these firms are more open to alternative backgrounds if the professional is exceptional.

Day-to-day responsibilities

This is a management and strategic role and you’ll be required to meet with heads of business on a regular basis and manage a team. You’ll also need to liaise with senior line management and senior HR figures to ensure the overall learning and development approach is in line with the broader business strategy. Overall, it is a very high profile role within a business.

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