Council staff brush up on business sense

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A global paint manufacturer has been priming Kirklees Museums and Galleries management staff on how to develop its business plans.

Birstall-based company PPG held a training session with the council workers to show them how to create a sustainable model for the future.

Museums operations manager Deborah Marsland said: “We are a public sector organisation which is having to think more commercially.

“We were keen to find out more about the golden rules of business used by a global company like PPG and how they have successfully used vision and values to survive and thrive through turbulent economic times.

“There is so much we can apply to our own organisation,” she added.

Oakwell and Red House’s heritage manager Eric Brown said: “You may say it’s a million miles away from what we do but it’s not.

“It’s just about being a little bit more analytical and looking at things from a different perspective.”

Some of the ideas passed on by the business included simply arranging a museum’s space in a more efficient way so that work can be done quicker.

“I feel it’s been really positive” said Eric. “We have benefited enormously from their support. Hopefully as time goes on this will develop and we will learn more.”

Another training session has been planned for April.

PPG has previously provided financial support for community projects at the nearby Oakwell Hall Red House museums.

And for several years volunteers from PPG have regularly mucked in with improvement efforts at the sites.

PPG general manager Steve Pocock said: “We strive to be active and engaged supporters of our communities and as such we were keen to share with the teams some of the methodology we have used to steer our business through recent challenging times.

“It’s been a great pleasure working with the entire team. They are all so eager and keen to embrace new ways to improve the value of the business and increase the knowledge of their people.”

In a bid to cut £69m from its budget by 2018, Kirklees Council has said it want the district’s museums and galleries to run using a commercial model.

PPG is based in Huddersfield Road but operates internationally.