At Carnival UK we’re a diverse bunch, we have a multitude of skills, knowledge and experience between us. Throughout the year we’ll be sharing colleagues career stories to help showcase how they’ve to got where they are in their career today and the development opportunities that have helped them get there.

Michelle Harradence joined Carnival UK in 2011 as an HR Manager (or a PDM, as they were known back then). Her first ship was Arcadia, after which she spent six years with the P&O Cruises fleet working across Arcadia, Aurora, Azura, Ventura and Britannia before coming ashore as Senior Manager, Employee Relations in 2017. Since then, she has gravitated toward her first passion, developing others, working as a Manager, Senior Manager and today, Director, Learning & Training Governance.

“Before joining Carnival UK, I had several varied roles from charity fundraiser, to owning my own coaching and training consultancy. From a Carnival UK perspective, I spent my first six years on board, before coming ashore and building on my career firstly as Senior Manager, Employee relations and then as Learning Manager and Fleet Learning Senior Manager.

In early 2022 I was given the opportunity to take on a secondment for Learning Director whilst the then Director completed a project for Corporate. In July 2022 I was successful in my application for the role, looking after all things Learning and Development for ship and shore as well as Training Governance which means, among other things, representing Carnival UK at a Corporate level and collaborating with colleagues across the other brands in the Corporation.  

My career highlight at Carnival UK has to be launching the first management programme to the Fleet in 2018. Prior to this there was lots of locally developed training and no consistency. Now, as we are about to launch Leadership and Management Essentials to the Fleet, once again I’m feeling that sense of pride for playing a part in developing our leaders of the future. Before Carnival UK I was a professional coach and trainer, and a highlight was coaching an individual who went onto to become a senior leader in the world of sport.

When I was a new, young manager who knew everything, yet quickly learnt I knew very little, I was fortunate to work with an amazing manager who really shaped my leadership and management style. Sadly, he is no longer with us, but I always remember how he took the time to develop me and support me throughout the time we worked together. He also used to quote Oscar Wilde a lot and ‘Be yourself, everyone else is taken’ was my favourite one.  

Carnival UK sponsored my development to become a Chartered Member of CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development) which really helped to build my confidence when I first transitioned to shore after being in the fleet. They also supported my Employee Relations qualification when I was Senior Manager, Employee Relations. Outside of Carnival UK, I qualified as a Coach in 2008 and am a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner – I use tools and skills from both every single day in my interactions with my team and the wider business.

For those looking to develop, my advice would simply be to start. Read around the topic you want to develop in, talk to someone who is already doing it, get curious and ask questions. Then decide how you want to develop – this could be through e-learning, attending a course or gaining experience. 

When I’m coaching, it’s the lightbulb moments in someone’s development journey that make me love my job the most. That moment when they realise it’s not all about courses and workshops, but about finding their own way to develop themselves. Having said that, courses, and I’m not just saying this as the Learning Director, can be a great starting point for development and there are some great opportunities at Carnival UK. Power Hours offer some really interesting topics such as Radical Candour and Psychological Safety – check out the full list of topics on The Cove.”

Michelle’s recommended resources:

If you don’t know where to start, take a look at the content library on The Cove and start with the ‘My Best Me welcome and development toolkit’. This will help you identify any gaps or areas of focus.

If you’re a manager, get yourself along to the fabulous Leadership and Management Essentials Programme. These can get booked up fast so look at the calendar and book yourself on. Use the calendar on The Cove to see all the great workshops that are available.

If you’re looking to read around a topic, have a look at Good Practice. There’s so much great content, ranging from 5 minute reads to more in-depth videos. To make it easy to find relevant content, everything is split into categories: ‘For Leaders’, ‘For Managers’ and ‘For Colleagues’.

Thanks Michelle for sharing your career story.

As we’ve heard here, development can come in all forms, from asking questions to gaining experience, reading around a topic or taking part in courses and workshops. So we can all perform at our best, and get any support we need, we should all talk about our development regularly with our line manager.

Make use of  the Development Planning resources available on The Cove to help you keep your development on track and steer conversations with your line manager. Simply log in to The Cove, head to ‘content library’ and search ‘individual development plan’.

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