Using my self-development fund – Sky Betting and Gaming

Richard Wade

At SBG all colleagues are given £1,000 each year to spend on learning and development, or as we call it at SBG, our ‘Self-Development Fund’.

This year I used my Self-Development Fund to do the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) Level 5 course from March to August 2021.

As an ambitious manager, I was keen to take a course which could arm me with the tools and knowledge to progress into more senior roles in the medium and longer term, as well as give me tools to improve my skills in the short-term.


It made me think about aspects of how I manage and lead in a completely different way. One particular element which resonated with me was ‘Emotional Intelligence’ – I’d heard of the term but didn’t really understand what it was. Gaining a proper understanding of this, where my strengths and weaknesses are – has really helped me to improve firstly the way manage, but also the way I handle situations, communications, and other areas at work.

I also found the chance to talk to our tutor on a 1:1 basis about these topics and various questionnaires we completed was vital to reflect on how things impacted me, my team, and other people around me.


After learning about emotional intelligence, I’ve shared this with other people managers within our team (some of whom are doing the same course as we speak!) to challenge how we manage on a daily basis, and also to think about how we handle certain situations and conversations.

I’ve also had several review sessions with my people manager to understand how I can put some of these theories, learnings and ideas into practice too – something which I’m in the process of doing currently.

Doing the course during a pandemiC

While I would always prefer classroom learning to engage with colleagues and tutors face-to-face, a certain pandemic made that impossible, however the digital structured learning approach was run superbly. Our tutor Lorraine, did a super job at explaining everything, building relationships with us all virtually – and successfully guided us through the two assignments we had to complete as part of the qualification. The Leadership Centre at Leeds Beckett offer you loads of support, and someone will always answer your questions – there are plenty of videos and reading material available online. It’s just a thoroughly well-run course.


I’d highly recommend this course for anyone who is keen to develop their leadership skills, or to challenge how well they currently work/lead/manage. It’s a course that doesn’t have a defined industry, it’s applicable for everyone – and I think any aspiring leader could benefit from taking the ILM level 3 too.

Looking AHEAD

Next year I’ll get another £1,000 to continue my development journey. At the moment I’m keeping my options open, I’ll probably look to build on the learnings of ILM5 and concentrate on improving my knowledge and skills in specific areas of leadership. Or, I’ll focus on building my marketing knowledge through the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

support from sbg

It’s massive to me that we have £1,000 a year to spend on our own development. Not only does it mean we can learn new skills, build on existing strengths, gain knowledge for the future & today – it also means we work for a company where developing it’s people is a priority.

I’m a firm believer that investing in people is one of the most important areas for businesses to invest in, and SBG does it brilliantly.

Author: Marion Duncan