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Not your average training programme: why does allegro work so well?

By Nicky Griffin

Fast-track training and development programmes can offer considerable benefits for driven individuals looking to develop their skills or forge a new career path.

The allegro programme, established at Ashfield Healthcare Communications in 2018, is designed to train and develop competent, motivated, well-networked medical writers. The ethos behind the programme is to provide new writers with the initial step in a long-term career development pathway at Ashfield, while addressing the need to find and retain talented writers to meet the resource needs of a growing business.

allegro invests in people: the award-winning programme is focused on developing core writing and business skills at an accelerated pace versus the industry standard, with the aim that those entering the programme will develop the attributes needed to ‘graduate’ as fully-fledged medical writers within 12 months.

Indeed, of the 120 people who have joined the programme to date, ~80% have achieved promotion with this timeframe. In addition, some writers from the early intakes have achieved subsequent promotions to more senior writing roles in the business, demonstrating that allegro is fulfilling its ethos of establishing long-term careers in medical communications.

This year allegro celebrated the graduation of its 100th medical writer, a feat achieved in less than three years since programme launch. So, how and why is the programme so successful?

A tried and tested model

The programme involves an eight-week training phase, followed by two five-month rotations in different Ashfield agencies, allowing entry-level writers to develop core skills within a collaborative learning environment, while generating a network of contacts across the business. Writers can expect to be involved in a variety of projects, undertaking different types of work, while also experiencing the diverse cultures across the Ashfield agencies.

Now in its ninth intake, the programme has evolved to meet the changing needs of the business. This has included growth of the team delivering the programme – three highly experienced medical communications professionals with over 40 years’ experience, work in conjunction with the recruitment team and HR to support and guide the writers in their medical communications journey.

Team expansion was of great benefit this year when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The normal in-house training phase could not go ahead as planned, so the team acted swiftly to convert the course to a virtual platform.

All training was delivered via Zoom, with the trainers adapting the programme to ensure that the new writers were supported and that the sense of community and teamwork, so critical to the success of the training phase, was maintained.

Feedback from the first ‘virtual’ allegro was impressive, with 92% of attendees rating the training as enjoyable, and all feeling that the programme equipped them for work in their first agency rotation. Based on the feedback, and due to the success of the first virtual delivery, the next intake of allegro, due to start in October 2020, will again be delivered remotely.

Final thought

The allegro model demonstrates that a bespoke, people-focused learning programme can lead to fantastic career development opportunities for those who have the drive and ability to be successful.

Not only that, this model ensures that the business is protected from a resource perspective, with ‘home-grown’ talent building long-term careers with Ashfield Healthcare Communications.

Nicky Griffin is Assistant Programme Director at allegro

7th October 2020

From: Marketing

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