Today I had another appointment with Dawn, my assessor. I'd done pretty well at doing most of the tasks I'd set myself last time, and so after talking through my plan I started my professional discussion for unit D1 (Develop productive working relationships with colleagues). The professional discussion was a lot less daunting than I'd originally thought, and was more of a guided discussion with Dawn introducing me, and asking me questions that she knew were key to where I wanted to take the discussion. After 35 minutes of rambling, and one pause for me to go and refill my glass, it was done, and we'd covered everything for that module bar a couple of supporting pieces of evidence to be included in my file (i.e. an organisation chart and a couple of emails printed out which I'd referred to during the discussion).I rather foolishly haven't tracked how much time I've spent preparing for this unit, but I think it is in the order of 8 to 10 hours. Of this I would say half of it has been in my time, and half in Madgex's. The photograph below shows some of the preparation I did - a mind map in iBlueSky, which evolved into one in Free Mind and which then became prompt cards for the discussion.
Next up is unit D6 (Allocate and monitor the progress and quality of work in your area of responsibility), which I was supposed to start thinking about last time, but found myself concentrating on the rather more imminent unit D1. This unit will be a combination of evidence collection and a question and answer session. My tasks for this unit are:
Read and understand the unit
Think about what activities I have done that show the outcomes, behaviours and knowledge for the unit
Work out which of these are items where evidence is going to be required - project plans, emails etc - and prepare those
Work out which of these are items where a question and answer format will work better
My next appointment is in 2 weeks time, so not a lot of time available for navel-gazing or yak shaving.Overall, I've found the NVQ process so far different to what I'd envisaged. At this point it seems to be focussed around showing how I display the qualities required for management, rather than training me to be a manager. I'm glad that whilst I was at Glass's I had the opportunity to have 6 day-long training sessions on management and leadership covering topics such as recruitment, selection, development, motivation, employment law and leadership. I have done some background reading, and have joined the Institute of Leadership and Management (who run this NVQ qualification) in order to take this as an opportunity to refresh my skills and to find out about alternative ways of working as I know I still have a lot to learn about management and leadership. I have added a couple of leadership related blogs  to my feedreader and an iTunesU subscription to my iPod.
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