Learnfest '14Two weeks ago the NAO hosted Learnfest, an annual week-long festival dedicated to learning and development. There was a great atmosphere around the office and the corridors had even been decorated with wellies and daffodils! Every day there were talks and seminars with both external and internal speakers on a whole host of topics, from secondments, accountability in Shakespeare to Deal or No Deal. The week ended with a bang with a talk by Roger Black on teamwork.

In addition to events taking place throughout the day, Learnfest also offered a number of after-work social events and demonstrations, including self-defence and even cheese tasting. We are lucky to have a resident cheese expert, who even took a career break to learn how to make cheese in France and wrote a book about his experiences!

I attended a couple of sessions on social media, one on how to tweet and another on the use of social media in the NAO’s work. The first session was held by the NAO’s digital team who gave lots of useful insights on how to make the most of Twitter. Being a novice user, I was very grateful for the expert tips! The latter was given by an NAO team who had piloted the use of social media for a value for money study – it provoked lots of debate on how valuable and cost-effective this could actually be in practice.

I also went along to a talk by a head teacher on accountability in schools. This was fascinating. She talked us through how schools are judged, the problems facing them currently and how she tackles failing schools. It is always interesting to listen to someone who is so passionate about their work and I felt very inspired by the end of the talk.

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