Biz-Community (Cape Town)

Africa: FTC's Noble Wins Two Unilever Awards

Stuart Noble, a director of the Financial Training Corporation (FTC), which is part of the BDO Group, has won two awards for financial training conducted for Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company Unilever, in Africa, the Middle East and Turkey.

The first, for Best Trainer, is based on feedback from those he has trained. He was recognised for his knowledge of Unilever and its needs, good communication and the provision of useful and relevant course content and relating well to his trainees, amongst a host of things. This is the third time that Noble has won this award.

The second award is the Unilever Leaders Choice Award. He was nominated by the course's sponsors in recognition of his dedication and service, and was selected from a large number of Unilever trainers worldwide across a wide range of training disciplines.

With a passion for training - and for accounting and finance, and project management in particular - Noble has been lecturing since 1993. He founded FTC in May 2001 after a stint as training director at KPMG Durban. BDO bought a 51% stake on 1 May, 2011, in FTC.

A dynamic and interesting field

"I started lecturing accounting/finance while I was completing my studies at the University of Natal and found the experience very challenging and enjoyable. I really enjoy interacting with people. Due to the ever-changing nature of the finance world, it is a dynamic and interesting field to be involved in," he said.

All FTC's training material is prepared specifically for each client to incorporate both trends in local sectors and markets, and specific clients' needs. "All our training is specific for our clients. Our clients own the course material. All course material is confidential and not disclosed to any other company."

Noble travels extensively and trains Unilever employees in Africa, the Middle East and Turkey. "Each of the countries has its own cultural differences, but as all the employees work for Unilever, we find that the company corporate culture is very strong and tends to make the training very similar. Although no changes are made to the training materials, we incorporate relevant local examples and I do have to be versatile and alter my presentation style for candidates in each country," he explained.

Of paramount importance

No matter which country - or even which company - he is working with, Noble believes that training is a worthwhile investment and is of paramount importance as it presents a prime opportunity to expand the knowledge base of all employees. Investment in training also demonstrates to employees that they are valued, creating a supportive workplace.

"Workplace training and development benefits both the company as a whole and individual employees. It not only identifies and addresses potential weaknesses, but also creates highly competent employees who are on top of changing trends and deliver according to industry standards. This enables a company to position itself as a leader within its sector. A structured training and development programme helps to provide employees with consistent experience and background knowledge. It also creates a shared pool of knowledge so that employees can take over for one another as needed and can work either as part of teams or independently without constant help and supervision," he concluded.

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