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CAKE PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT takes on eras ltd people development consultancy.

Welcome to our news and blog page.


Here will share what's new and happening in the world of CAKE People Develeopment and all things Learning and Development.

By Shelley Measures, Oct 6 2017 11:44AM

Managing business finances is absolutely critical for every organisation, regardless of type or size. Responsibility for areas such as budgeting, business cases and project finances are often devolved to people working outside of the finance team, making it vital that they clearly understand what it is that they need to do and why it is so important to do so.

Our financial courses are lively, practical and relevant. We can tailor the content and materials to your own organisation and your ways of working, making the transition of ideas and tools from the learning environment incredibly smooth.

We use a variety of approaches to ensure that participants find this potentially dull topic both interesting and fun to learn about. These methodologies include business simulations, games and a large amount of practical exercises, introducing many useful tools, techniques and top tips.

We cover a wide range of financial topics, from finance for non-financial managers to building powerful business cases, project financial assessment and management and creating and managing effective budgets.

For further information on our finance for programmes, call the CAKE Team 01063 733006.

By Shelley Measures, Sep 27 2017 01:13PM

In my 20 years plus as a trainer, I’m continually frustrated that learners don’t translate learning value into workplace value. Often delegates tell me how much they have enjoyed a training event (even one of mine occasionally!) and how useful the learning was.

A few weeks later it’s all forgotten and nothing of any significance has changed for them. The training has therefore been largely a waste of time. Forbes recently published an article estimating that only 10% of business training actually produces any real value.

The problem becomes clearer if we look at the learning journey from ignorance to mastery in terms of a staircase. Each stair represents a step in learning and relies on the learner completing the previous steps. The bottom three steps are information, concept and knowledge.

Our senses need to be exposed to information first so that our brain can start to organise it coherently into a concept that makes sense. Knowledge is achieved when we can recognise and understand concepts consistently.

The only way to make learning stick is for our brain to make a pattern of it that persists. The pattern making is called neuroplasticity and our brains are excellent at it.

So, learning to tie a shoelace might start with information about shoes, laces and eyelets that we can arrange into the concept of a shoe with laces. Being able to pick out the shoes with laces from a bunch of random shoes will show we know what a shoe with laces is.

The only way to make learning stick is for our brain to make a pattern of it that persists. The pattern making is called neuroplasticity and our brains are excellent at it. Unfortunately, our brains are also very efficient and will only keep the patterns that we use. ‘Use it or lose it’ is definitely a brain thing.

The next three steps in the staircase are application, practice and feedback. We need to find an application for our knowledge that we can practise over and over to get our brain to start hard-wiring the learning pattern. Feedback tells us if we’re doing it right.

Too often in business training, the trap door opens between knowledge and application. The learner leaves the training knowing what to do but the opportunity to apply their knowledge doesn’t happen. Their brain doesn’t hard-wire the learning and the pattern disappears.

They fall through the trap door. This is called forgetting.

By applying knowledge, the learner can complete the staircase. So, with practice and feedback, knowledge can turn into skill which, with further practice and feedback, can turn into mastery.

In organisations, most learners need management support to get up the staircase to mastery and avoid the trap door. This is part of a three-way learning partnership involving learner, trainer and learner’s manager. The learner commits to the learning and focuses on specific learning outcomes they want.

The trainer facilitates the learning by providing clear and engaging learning experiences. The manager creates opportunities for the learner to apply their learning in the workplace and provides feedback, say through coaching, on progress the learner is making.

Unfortunately, management lets the learning partnership down too often by not getting actively involved in the learner’s journey. I was recently involved in a transformation programme for a manufacturing company which involved uplifting management capability.

The senior divisional leaders were nowhere to be seen and left their middle managers struggling to apply the management principles we had trained them in. After nine months, the whole transformation was left hanging by a thread.

Contrast that with another programme I delivered to develop a coaching culture at a specialist chemical company. From day one, the chief executive was front and centre of the programme. He attended every training session and took full responsibility to drive through the learning. The commitment to the programme by the whole management team was 100%.

I find most people like learning stuff. Apart from making them better at their jobs it gives a sense of achievement and builds self-esteem and self-worth. Also, we’ve probably all seen Dan Pink’s video citing mastery as a key motivator (along with purpose and autonomy).

I believe our responsibility as trainers is to do our best to get managers of learners playing their part in the learning partnership. I routinely insist on speaking with learners’ managers to challenge them to support their people proactively.

By creating opportunity for their people to apply and practise their learning within a feedback framework they will get more capable, more productive and more motivated team members who can actually make their management lives just that bit easier.

About the author

Grant Cullen is a consultant with CAKE People Development.

By Shelley Measures, Sep 26 2017 01:44PM

If there’s one thing we can be certain of, it’s that nothing is certain. All organisations go through change which impacts the business at all levels. - this can be disconcerting but also a productive opportunity.

Our conference this year tackles the theme of change from many approaches - shifting and transforming organisational and leadership culture; the psychology of change, building a coaching culture; team coaching supporting change, team coaching culture; the interface between coaching and business culture, coaching and mentoring; the apprenticeship levy and there are other themed sessions too.

This is our 3rd annual conference, and we’re upholding the quality of the of our previous, successful conferences. We have engaging speakers; lots of choice of interesting and practical workshops/case studies and the opportunity to network in a friendly environment, in the delightful rural setting of Centre Parcs, Elveden Forest, Suffolk, IP24 3TR.

We are hosting the first ever CAKE Coaching Award where you can help celebrate the achievements of your colleagues, peers, or your own! And the perfect finish to the day – relaxing in the woodland environment, enjoy a walk along the lakeside, dive into the famous Subtropical Swimming Paradise or challenge colleagues to a game of Ten Pin Bowling. You are invited to stay on site until 10.00pm on the day of the conference.

We hope you can join us for a full and varied day of inspiration, conversation, and learning.

See you there!


By Shelley Measures, Sep 12 2017 12:17PM

Join us on Wednesday 25th October (18:00 - 20:30) at the Ekiko Lounge at Norwich City Football Club to network with other L&D leaders and to discuss and debate how to set L&D strategies to support the ‘new learning organisation’ and how we influence lasting change!

You do not have to be member of the CIPD to attend.

Book your FREE place today by emailing

Wednesday 25th October - 18:00 - 20:30.

Ekiko Lounge, Norwich City Football Club, Carrow Road, Norwich, NR1 1JE.

Work is changing, customers and stakeholders are demanding more and technology is disrupting the way that organisations deliver services.

The role of the L&D leader in business has never been more important, but it's a role that is changing rapidly.

The theme for the evening will be "Driving the New Learning Organisation" where, through an interactive session, we'll be drawing on the findings of the latest Towards Maturity and CIPD joint report on this topic. We'll explore:

• How we set L&D strategies to support the new learning organisation

• The implications for your L&D team - how do we get ready for the future?

• The implications for your business - how do we influence lasting change?

You can download a copy of the report at the following link:

We will be gathering all the creative ideas from all the ‘Leaders in Learning’ sessions being held on this theme around the UK to create a free webinar on practical approaches to facilitate a learning organisation which will be delivered later in the year. So your thoughts and input at this event are important and valued.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday 25th October.

By Shelley Measures, Aug 22 2017 11:00AM

The Apprenticeship Levy doesn't feel new to me. When I started my L&D career in 1984 (it was called Training then) I had to produce an annual report to demonstrate we were entitled to levy exemption from The Distributive Industry Training Board (DITB). The report focused more on quantity of training days etc rather than outcomes or business impact but it always made us reflect on what we had achieved and meant that we had plenty of support for investing in training.

The similarity that particularly strikes me is the opportunity to create truly blended and comprehensive programmes for people at all stages of their career. I started with the employer I described above as a management trainee - I was on a two-year programme with a blend of learning opportunities planned in. It really was our flagship programme and when I became Training Officer I was responsible for running it. Remember we are talking early 80s and I still benefit from that programme now. Here are just some of the elements that made it such a solid foundation for the rest of my working life:

• 3 month assignments in different departments across the business

• Day release college courses - Year 1 technical, Year 2 - management focused

• In-house 1 and 2 day courses - often run by senior managers and specialists in the business on a wide range of business and management topics

• Involvement in special events - i.e. Ideal Home Show, Lining up and presenting a crystal bowl to Her Majesty The Queen, etc.

• Entry in to related awards (e.g. Chamber of Commerce Trainee of the Year)

• Project work

• Regular documented reviews after each assignment (3 months)

• Learning Diary to record progress, reflect on learning during assignments and guide us through the programme

• Regular access to Senior Management and real involvement from them throughout

• Final Graduation ceremony (I still have my photo!)

• Almost guaranteed promotion at the end but with plenty of support to make the right choice over the first management role.

The selection process was tough, over 100 applications were received each year without any advertising and this was whittled down to around 8 each year through interviews and assessment centres using a panel of trained senior managers - when I experienced this from the 'other side' I saw how robust the discussions were in the wash up.

So, now we have digital but other than that, I'm not sure how much of what we are doing today is really new. I believe that if we use the Apprenticeship levy wisely, we will go back to developing people properly. Bite-sized, e-learning, social Learning all have their place but as a product of an in-depth, tailored and well supported two-year programme I value the chance to provide others with that type of experience and learning. All of my fellow trainees went on to have impactful roles quite quickly and of those I have tracked - many reached Director levels in their various organisations. Perhaps that's the key, let's train people in management and leadership skills before they are promoted!

By Shelley Measures, Jul 26 2017 10:00AM

CAKE are delighted to announce it's 3rd Annual East of England Coaching & Mentoring Conference...

The Coaching Conversation 2017

All organisations go through change which impacts the business at all levels.

Coaching & Mentoring are powerful business tools for developing your people, enhancing their performance and adding real value to your organisation.

At a time of relentless change, the need for sustainable organisation performance is crucial. Businesses need employees to take ownership of their performance, strive to meet business objectives and demonstrate resilience and confidence when managing change.

At CAKE, we believe that developing your people should be at the heart of all organisations and that coaching & mentoring should be accessible for all of the people, all of the time.

Our coaching for change conference ‘The Coaching Conversation 2017’ will provide you with a real understanding of how coaching & mentoring can be used as a driver for development & performance in the workplace.

With a combination of case studies, practical workshops and shared learning, you will come away with tools, techniques and innovative ideas for using coaching & mentoring successfully as a driver for performance in your own organisation.


Wed 15 November 2017

09:00 – 16:30 GMT


Center Parcs

Elveden Forest



IP24 3TR


By Shelley Measures, Jul 12 2017 08:38AM

CAKE People Development opened its doors to clients and friends last Friday afternoon to mark the official opening of their new offices. They were invited for delicious afternoon tea, fizz and of course CAKE!

Margaret Burnside, Director, said “We’d like to thank everyone who came along to celebrate with us. After all the challenging work of the office refurbishment and the move itself, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to finally show off our new home.”

CAKE moved from its offices in Denmark Street to a new base at Diss Business Park in Hopper Way, following a successful period of growth since its launch in October 2016.

CAKE People Development are specialists in Leadership and Management Development, Coaching and Mentoring, and Organisational Development. They are approved and accredited by both the ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management) and CMI (Chartered Management Institute) to deliver qualifications to Level 7 in Leadership and Management and Coaching and Mentoring.

The new facilities have enabled the company to take on extra staff, while also allowing room for further growth.

Margaret added, “We were always committed to staying in Diss when we were looking for our new office space and the ongoing investment into regenerating the Diss Heritage Triangle mean it’s an exciting time for the town and we are proud to be a part of it. Our office looks great, it represents our values and culture, but more importantly it has provided us with the space and location needed for us to continue to support our clients in developing their people and really making a difference, not just for their staff but for the organisations themselves.”

For any enquiries regarding our new offices, training facilities or our services, please contact the CAKE Team on 01603 733006 or email or visit the website

By Shelley Measures, Jul 11 2017 12:27PM

Whilst coaching has been a key part of sporting success for many years, more recently it has been highlighted as an essential business tool.

In today's fast moving and complex global world, coaching is increasingly the most effective way of achieving sustained learning and development of both individuals and teams. Top performance results from properly focused attention and investment.

Increasingly companies are turning to coaching to complement the overall development of the individual. After all, it's individuals that create excellence. This approach allows space for conventional technical skill based training as well as a focus on individual issues that enhance performance. And the results are staggering.

Coaching is about shifting the workplace culture from one where people receive direction from others to one where people commit to doing things they care passionately about. The process encourages the development of personal leadership and responsibility throughout the organisation.

Coaching assists individuals and teams to focus on possibilities and remove limitations. It helps people overcome obstacles to their success, including their attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. Perhaps even more importantly it provides a model for giving and receiving constructive feedback.

As a leadership style, coaching focuses on the future, on what is possible - encouraging multi-level decision-making and evolutionary learning. Leaders support, inform and influence, resulting in performance being measured against shared goals with strong personal commitment by team members.

CAKE creates tailored coaching programmes designed to fit your business perfectly. Many ‘off the shelf’ programmes can provide a few useful generic tips to improve members of your team, but the CAKE approach delves deeper - looking into your specific needs.

We get to know your business so we can help you can bring out the best in everyone.

CAKE has many years' of experience in going into businesses and quickly grasping how things work. Our passion is devising a programme to nurture the development of your talented team.

We are delighted to announce our 3rd annual coaching and mentoring conference 'The Coaching Conversation 2017' with guest speaker David Clutterbuck. BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE!

For more information on how we can help, call the CAKE Team on 01603 733006 or email

By Shelley Measures, Jul 4 2017 01:46PM

The TJ Awards are back and they are bigger than ever for 2017.

Widely recognised as the best awards in the sector, the TJ Awards recognise the ingenuity, creativity, passion and hard work of learning and development professionals from around the world.

This year the TJ Awards 2017 ceremony will take place at the Brewery on Tuesday 5th December.

Margaret Burnside has been on the judging panel for the last four years and this year CAKE are proud and delighted to be sponsoring the 'Best Leadership Development Programme' category.

Debbie Carter, TJ’s editor in chief says: “We're looking for the brightest learning and development teams and people to tell us why they deserve to be recognised.

The Awards categories allow a broad range of companies and individuals to participate and reflect the increasing diversity and scope in the L&D landscape”

For further information visit,

By Shelley Measures, Jun 22 2017 11:16AM

Are you or a member of your team looking to development your leadership & management skills?

We have just announced the dates for our Autumn Open Programmes. Our accredited programmes have been designed to support your executives, managers, supervisors and team leaders through every stage of their career and professional development.

Our programmes are offered to award, certificate and diploma up to Level 7 and are accredited by the two-best known membership and accreditation bodies, The ILM and the CMI. CAKE is an approved centre with direct claim status from both bodies and as such, the quality of our programmes is guaranteed.

Our approach to people development is a practical one – with a strong emphasis on inspiration, implementation and application. Each programme has been designed to meet the needs of the executives, managers and leaders attending them.

We take a long-term view on working with you to build truly collaborative, trusted relationships founded on shared values, passion, and excellence. We believe in making a real difference to both individuals and organisations.

Whether you only have one or two people with a particular development need, or you have an individual that would really benefit from the variety of perspectives gained from learning with their peers from a wide range of different organisations; our open programmes are an ideal way for your managers and leaders to develop a wide array of skill and knowledge.

Our open programmes are also available in-house. If you are interested in running one of these programmes in-house, please let us know – we have a passionate team ready to help.

For further information on our Open Programmes, click here. or talk to Jo Tonnison, our Programme Manager on 01603 733006 for help in identifying the right path for you or a member of your team.

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