Introducing ‘Ascent 2020’, First Names Group’s new learning and development programme

31 January 2017

At First Names Group we pride ourselves on our innovative approach to business – not least how we develop our people. Now, we are introducing a radical new training programme, in which our ‘First Names’ take the initiative in guiding their own personal development. And, true to our nature, the programme is themed around the idea of adventure.

Spearheaded by our Chief HR Officer, Teresa Lamy, who joined the business in June last year, ‘Ascent 2020’ is a framework for all learning and development within First Names Group, building on what we’ve done before and taking it to a new level. It gives everyone the opportunity to pick their own path in terms of their career, in a way that works for them. It’s about being active and learning through doing, not endless talking and death by PowerPoint.

We’ve broken personal development down into four key programmes that will bring together people from across the organisation. They are:


Basecamp is the first-level line manager programme, which gives people an opportunity to explore all the things they need to know about managing people. The common theme here is around understanding yourself and the impact you have on others.


Explorer is for anyone with high potential, up to the level of associate director. Modules last a week, and each group of 15-20 people will include people at different stages of their career. The one thing they have in common is that we believe they have unexplored potential – so there are lots of opportunities to lead, on a variety of increasingly complex projects.

We give the participants no information as to what’s on the programme. After all, once they get into true leadership, they’ll be dealing with pure ambiguity every day. On previous programmes Teresa has run, teams have had to take over real high-street hospice shops for a day and work with the shop’s volunteers to make more money in that day than the shop had ever made in a day before! These modules are very challenging, but they’re also a lot of fun and people come out incredibly energised.


Adventurer comprises short interventions. These might be feedback sessions to support the line managers; personality profiles and team building; or career surgeries, where people work in a structured way through what they’re good at and why, identifying their ambitions and building the picture of a career path which can deliver on those ambitions – whether that’s becoming a CEO or simply staying where they are and becoming the best at that role. It’s not about handing employees their next job move on a plate and managing it for them; it’s about lifting the lid and getting them to realise what they need to do to achieve their ambitions.


Pathfinder is a two-day programme designed for the senior management team, which centres on exploring their skills and any gaps they have. There’s a focus on attitudes to change and managing emotions. Some leaders are resistant to change, some are more open to it and actively lead their team that way, while others are laid back about it all. We explore people’s resilience and how that can be built up.

If you’d like to find out more about the development of our Ascent 2020 programme, click here to read a Q&A with our Chief HR Officer, Teresa Lamy, in last month’s Jersey Evening Post ‘Careers and Employment Review’ supplement.

First Names Group is hiring!

We are on the lookout for great people to join us. If you’re interested in becoming a ‘First Name’ and developing your career with us, please view our current vacancies or get in touch with Helen Baxter, our Head of Talent Management. We can’t wait to hear from you.