Reaching Excellence with Excel and VBA

A large global power company required support in providing their staff with the necessary Excel and VBA skills needed to perform their roles to maximum efficiency.  There was a mixed level of ability and they needed to find a solution that could cater to all relevant employees.

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The client is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of gas and oil

The client is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of gas and oil, involved in both the sourcing and distribution of energy to many homes and businesses in the country. With an ever changing landscape in terms of energy development, the company foresee significant changes in their business as the industry evolves. They therefore recognise the importance of having a highly trained and effective workforce that is capable and confident in facing the challenges of the future.



The Problem

The client is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of gas and oil

The organisation was looking to up-skill a group of graduate employees who were still learning the daily tasks of their role. While they were all regular Excel users and had basic abilities, they were required to use a lot of advanced spread sheets in order to manage their daily tasks. They therefore needed to increase their knowledge to enable more effective and efficient use of Excel to be able to advance in their roles and contribute to the team outcomes. Some of the users were more advanced and although they had the necessary Excel skills, they needed to up skill further to learning VBA skills. As a result there was a mixed ability group requiring varied skills development, some needing more advanced Excel and some further VBA technical skills. The organisation were therefore looking for a solution that could account for these differing needs, and up-skill their graduates to ensure they could meet the demands of the job.



The Solution

The client is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of gas and oil

The company initially sent through their own course outlines detailing their needs. However after further discussion it was agreed that the proposal was too ambitious and the content was not achievable in the timeframe specified. After in depth consultation the initial plans was expanded upon and it was agreed that a different approach was needed to achieve the desired outcomes. To ensure the graduates were provided with the most appropriate training to meet their needs, it was important to find out more about what specifically the business wanted to achieve and why they were doing the training. Once this had been established a more appropriate and effective solution was proposed, and after some minor tweaks and adjustments the course syllabus was refined to ensure that every employee would receive the training they needed to confidently use Excel within their role.

The solution that was developed was to deliver two different courses for the different ability groups. One course focussed on Advanced Excel skills, aimed at those struggling with the advanced spread sheets used in the organisation. This course also started to introduce the concepts of VBA, but only at a very basic level to offer a general overview of the topic. For those who already possessed advanced Excel skills and basic VBA knowledge, a two day advanced VBA course was developed to expand their existing knowledge.

Both courses were designed to provide both a comprehensive understanding of the topics, and also ensure practical application within the workplace. The content was therefore tailored to meet the specific requirements of the organisation and the department the graduates worked within.



The Training

The client is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of gas and oil

Once the overall concept of the training had been designed, it was then essential to ensure the training being delivered was fully applicable to the specific requirements of the business. It therefore incorporated relevant elements of the daily tasks required by the delegates to ensure that the training was fully applicable to the workplace and could easily be transferred upon return to work. In addition the course also offered a comprehensive overview of the programme to help them understand the underlying principles of what they were doing. This then ensured that the graduates would to be able to problem solve if faced by a challenge not addressed on the course.

The training was a fully interactive session during which the group were given a clear demonstration of the functions of the software, and a full explanation of the underlying principles was given. Following this each individual was given the chance to test out what they had learnt themselves, to get a first-hand look at how to perform the different tasks, and have the chance to ask any questions. The training was also supported by a printed guide detailing all of the different functions and tasks performed during the training. This, along with the three month follow up telephone support, ensured that the delegates had something to refer back to should they have questions when using the software in their daily roles.



The Challenges

The client is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of gas and oil


Change of venues and software version

During the original discussions the courses were due to run at the company’s regional office using Office 2007.  This was the information used to develop the course, and was the basis of the content.  However due to changes within the business, the organisation had to change the venue to London at the last minute and requested the training be run on Office 2013 as the company were upgrading their software.  This last-minute change had the potential to cause significant disruption to the course being run, however due to the training team’s excellent knowledge of all versions of Microsoft Office, and the ability to adapt flexibly to the needs of each customer, the course ran as intended and remained fully aligned with the training needs of the organisation.  Despite the short timeframe given, the team were able to adapt to this change and managed to redesign the materials and content within 24 hours.

A large number of people needing training within a short timeframe

The training being delivered was intended to up-skill the client’s graduate workforce to enable them to contribute to the organisation more effectively, and consequently improve productivity and overall outcomes within all areas of the business.  There were 60 graduates in need of training, and it was important that they all be trained in quick succession to prevent any delays in the work being completed.  Due to the nature of the training requested, and the number of graduates needing training, it was important that it be delivered in a timely manner to ensure minimal disruption to the business.  This was accomplished by delivering four sessions of each course; this allowed all delegates to access the training and meant they were able to attend a session at a time that would ensure minimal impact to their individual workload.

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