How USW is helping Newport Council develop its staff

Kevin Howells, a Senior HR and OD Business Partner at Newport council, is studying for an MBA with USW

Kevin Howells

ENSURING staff have the right skills, supported by qualifications, to do their jobs to the best of their ability is a key policy of Newport City Council. Having the best possible staff is key to ensuring the highest-quality services are delivered to council tax payers.

And Kevin Howells, a Senior HR and OD Business Partner at the council, has been leading the way by taking a course of study that will equip him with the specialist skills needed to ensure he and his employers thrive. 

Now in the second year of an MBA at the University of South Wales (USW), Kevin studies at USW’s Newport Campus for two days every six weeks.

The route to the post-graduate course started after Kevin applied to take part in the authority’s Talent Management Strategy, developed to identify and support emerging leaders internally.

“I could see that getting a higher qualification could really help me support the council priorities at a strategic level, and applied for support from the council and was accepted to do the MBA.” he explained.

The course is designed to help managers solve real business problems, and give professionals the opportunity to make a strategic difference to the organisations in which they operate.

For Kevin, the formal learning on the MBA has helped to cement this aim, and build his understanding of how businesses work.

“The whole idea of the course is that you’re not looking at the operational side of things, it’s more about the strategic overview of running an organisation, and how that can be managed and improved to the benefit the organisation,” he said.

The home for the MBA students also helps to make studying more business-like, according to Kevin, with the Boardroom – which is right at the summit of USW’s Newport Campus – being where they study.

“Being in such a professional environment puts you in the right mindset. It’s ideal,” Kevin said.

“And it’s a really good mix of people, from the private and public sector, with everything from lone traders to people who work in aerospace.

“There’s also a really strong element of networking. We learn from each other, learn about the different expertise we all have, and how we can use that variety of expertise to benefit each other.

“Doing the MBA will give me fantastic grounding to further develop as a key member of staff, and give the city council and people of Newport the benefit of some leading business expertise.”    ​​​​​​​