Learning at Work Week: Mike Spearpoint and Danny Hopkin

This week our team will be joining with businesses up and down the country to highlight the impact of a positive learning and development culture for Learning at Work Week.

In a series of articles we talk to our team members about why continual learning is so important. Here, our Research Leader Mike Spearpoint and Director Danny Hopkin share their thoughts on the learning opportunities available and how they benefit both team members and the business to continually push to improve and innovate our service offering …

At OFR, we are able to offer a tailored, in-house continuous professional development (CPD) programme, ensuring that our colleagues have ongoing access to learning opportunities regardless of their professional background, current role or stage of their career.

Our industry pioneering Technical Institute features a series of modules covering the fundamentals of fire science and engineering. These are delivered by members of the OFR team who are experienced lecturers and teach across a range of local and international institutions that include the University of Sheffield, Leeds, ETH and Lund. These modules are designed to fill any technical gaps for staff new to fire engineering, while also serving as a refresher for those with a formal background in the field. 

The Institute enables our staff to enhance their technical skills by exploring new topics. This gives them the knowledge and confidence to take on new projects in unfamiliar areas and apply alternative problem-solving approaches using techniques they may not have been previously familiar with. The scope of the Institute is broad, covering topics from detection through to structural response. Our colleagues can select modules based on their needs and professional goals, allowing us to provide a tailored development experience for all. The Institute plays a crucial role in OFR’s vision of being the vanguard of best practice and fostering the highest quality technical expertise. By providing learning opportunities that address topics not always covered in engineering education or day-to-day project work, the Institute enhances our staff’s understanding and expertise, allowing us to continually push to improve and innovate our service offering.

The Institute is an integral part of OFR’scomprehensive learning culture, which also includes our Springboard programme, Management Development programme, Leadership Development programme, and Enterprise Management Initiative scheme. Together, these initiatives ensure that learning and development opportunities are accessible and diverse, catering to the varied needs of our staff. We want our team to be fulfilled in their roles and we recognise that our colleagues’ perspectives on success are highly individual. We are committed to bucking the trend of ‘cookie cutter’ development pathways, instead focusing on how we best leverage individual talents and interests to add value for our clients.Outside of the Institute, all staff are afforded a training budget which is used to fund attendance at external events. This ranges from dedicated courses on subjects such as passive fire protection, through to attendance at international conferences, like the upcoming Structures in Fire (SiF) conference in Coimbra, Portugal.