Assessment & Development Centres

As far back as 1979, undertook  major research project to identify competencies of managers within British Airways Engineering Department (15000 employees so equivalent to a very large organisation in its own right), leading to award of M Phil at Henley management College/Brunel University.

Subsequent design of  assessment and development centres for managers at various levels, training of assessors, running of centres for selection, succession planning and development, as full time role over period of about 12 months – activities ended abruptly when the organisation announced major redundancy programme.  Prior to that had conducted evaluations based on participant, assessor and line manager feedback; had also undertaken statistical analysis of assessment ratings. These programmes incorporated psychometric testing, as part of research conducted jointly with Saville and Holdsworth. It was subsequently shown that test results did not correlate with assessments based on simulations and testing was discontinued.  Assessor training included giving feedback to participants, discussing potential development activities and leading development planning sessions with participant and line manager.

1989-1990 for Bull Information Systems, researched criteria, designed and ran  peer-assessment development centres for professional staff, briefed managers on the nature of the centres, recommended additional corporate training and development initiatives based on results. Results were so impressive that the company submitted the work for a National Training Award (not obtained, probably due to inability to demonstrate clear enough link to business finance)

2013 -  online consultancy on assessment centre design and implementation to company in Ukraine

Other activities include:

  • Design of centres for District Managers in Social Services and Heads of residential Homes
  • Sun Alliance, consultant to internal HR professionals as they researched criteria, designed centres, trained assessors, ran centres and evaluated results
  • Probation Service, researched criteria, designed simulations, ran centres using peer assessment – and trained two internal facilitators to take over this work
  • J Henry Schroders (merchant banking), designed six different assessment centres for graduate intake, trained assessors
  • Naval Command, designed series of linked simulations for use alongside Command training programmes – 4 different versions
  • Drake and Scull, researched competencies of Project Managers using repertory grid interviews and performance questionnaires, presentation of results to Management Board
  • Alexander Forbes, design of assessment centre programmes, simulations, production of assessor guidelines
  • South Bank University, design and running of peer assessment centre for 36 participants who were students on Health Management programme

Publications include:

  • Author of Getting the Best out of Development Centres for the Cabinet Office –booklet circulated to government departments and agencies;
  • Wrote The Gower Assessment and Development Centre, a photocopiable set of manuals containing sample programmes for centres, assessment documentation, assessor and participant briefing notes, assessment guidelines and an extensive collection of simulations that include individual and group activities, in-trays and report writing. This has subsequently been translated into Dutch
  • Design, with co-author, of Mission to Enernova, board game for use in assessment centres and training programmes 
  • Design of another major series of simulations, Simulations for Assessment, Training and Development, published as CD-ROM by Gower.

For several years, chaired Network of HR professionals who met regularly to share ideas etc about running assessment and development centres:  members included Benefits Agency, Barnado's, Securicor, DVLA, MBNA, HM Customs & Excise, Insolvency Service, National Police Training.

Other related Links

Use the links below to navigate to pages about my current roles, qualifications and employment history:

Current Roles & Pro Bono Positions
Qualifications & Offices Held
Employment History (Pre 1986)
Download My CV (PDF)

Click on the links below to see my experience summaries by topic: 

Assessment & Development Centres
Coaching & Mentoring
Consulting & Training
Counselling & Psychotherapy
TA & Supervision