At BFP supporting the professional and personal development of our team is at the heart of our company culture. We pride ourselves on creating a supportive learning environment that helps to get the best out of our employees and fosters a strong team spirit.
Being a great place to work is one of our main strategic objectives and is what helps us retain high-quality staff and attract new talent to the business.
To ensure we deliver the best training opportunities for our team, we recently promoted Sarah Fox to Head of Training and Development. For our latest blog, we spoke to Sarah to find out about her own development journey at BFP and what her new role entails.
Sarah joined Business First Partnership in 2018 as a Senior Account Executive on the Reservations Team. During this time, she built her knowledge of the wider industry and learned about the intricacies of long-haul travel and international airfare restrictions.
After two years on the Reservations Team, Sarah took on the role of Operations Manager before quickly making the step up to Head of Operations.
“When I joined BFP in 2018 I was keen to take my career to the next level and wanted to develop my understanding of the industry,” said Sarah. “Through a combination of on-the-job training and the support of my colleagues, I was able to expand my skillset quickly.
“When the opportunity arose to take on the role of Operations Manager I jumped at the chance. I was interested in learning more about the internal processes we have in place that enable us to deliver for our clients and support our own team.
“BFP is fantastic about rewarding you correctly for the job you are doing through both salary and job title, so after taking on more operational responsibility I was promoted to head of the department.”
During her time as Head of Operations, Sarah was responsible for introducing a secondary Administration Team to support business operations and Team Managers to streamline business processes and manage workloads.
Another integral part of Sarah’s role as Head of Operations was to oversee the professional development of all team members. However, as the team continued to expand, Sarah quickly realised the need for a dedicated member of staff who could manage training programmes and track progress.
She explained: “In a short space of time the company doubled in size so a large part of my day to day role became training new employees.
“Supporting the professional growth and development of team members at every stage of their career is exciting and something I am passionate about, so I knew it was something I wanted to take responsibility for.
“I suggested we create a dedicated training department to our CEO Nigel and he loved the idea. As a team, we are constantly encouraged to put forward suggestions for how to advance the business and they are always carefully considered – we even have a dedicated internal email address to allow us to do this!”
A new challenge
In January 2024 Sarah officially took on the role of Head of Training and Development.
Sarah now works closely with the Implementation Team to support both new and existing team members.
For each new member of staff, Sarah combines bespoke learning pathways with job-specific training plans to help drive their development. The emphasis on continued professional growth and tailored training ensures our team enjoy fast career progression and are always able to advise our clients on the newest technology or travel restrictions.
“When a new member of staff joins, we aim to start them working on live enquiries within the first week so they can get stuck in immediately,” explained Sarah.
“This is done with complete support from me to help them build confidence. The practical, hands on part of our training programme is crucial for understanding how we communicate with our clients and the standard of service we strive to deliver.”
Why professional development is important at BFP
At BFP, we understand how important career progression and job satisfaction are for our employees to help them fast-track their careers in the industry.
“We are committed to ensuring that each and every team member feels comfortable, included and able to create relationships with their colleagues,” said Sarah. “With a large number of people working from home, it is more important than ever to offer new team members a friendly, dedicated face to turn to for support.
“We are lucky to have an incredible culture of support within the company which starts at the top with our CEO.
“Nigel and all of the leadership team place huge importance on both professional and personal development and they ensure there is always the opportunity to progress if you want to.
“This could be creating a brand-new role for you or designing unique upskilling opportunities for you. If you have the drive to progress, they will support you every step of the way.”