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Spotlight on Alison Pretlove

15 May 2018

Alison Pretlove

This week the spotlight is on Alison Pretlove, Head of Development, Life Learning, UCL Innovation and Enterprise.

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am Head of Development of UCL Life Learning which sits within Innovation and Enterprise. We support UCL staff who want to develop short courses – turning their knowledge into action.

We do this through providing funding, advising best practice approaches and supplying toolkits, so that UCL staff can fully focus on developing outstanding course content. In a nutshell, we want to make the process of developing and delivering successful Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and short courses as easy as possible!

My responsibility is to make sure our tools, resources and processes are continually improved, so that there are no obstacles for those wishing to turn a concept into a fully deliverable short course.

We also work closely with UCL Consultants (UCLC), specifically Tony Osude, who is the bespoke courses lead, as many of the stages in our course development best practice model are applicable to both open and bespoke courses.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I have been at UCL since September 2013.

My previous role was Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Manager at Kingston University where I worked in their Enterprise Support department. I provided support and advice on a variety of different business engagement programmes – Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, Consultancy, Innovation Vouchers and internally funded schemes.

In addition I collated and managed a bi-annual CPD and Short Course catalogue. This is what piqued my interest in lifelong learning initially and led me to apply for my current role.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

The annual CPD KEIF funding round that Life Learning manage is something that I am very proud of. It allows us to award funding through a competitive process to those wishing to develop short courses who then follow our best-practice approach.

The call is currently open. This year’s theme is online short courses and there is up to £25K available per project. Successful projects will work closely with Life Learning, using tried and tested tools and techniques to ensure the best outcome possible.

Along with growing the UCL short course portfolio in a way that will contribute to the skills of the UK workforce, our approach will help to embed a successful methodology for developing short courses which can be reapplied by the course teams in the future.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of you to-do list?

I’ve been working on a project to implement a course administration system for short courses that will allow learners to find, book and pay for short courses in a consistent way, regardless of which department is offering them. We are getting closer to a solution thanks to our diligent project board, made up of many dedicated people across multiple departments who have fully engaged with this, whilst still carrying out their “day-jobs” – thank you.

The benefits of this solution once rolled out will be that UCL can; offer a GDPR-compliant solution to short course administrators; huge savings on admin time and the ability for departments to report accurately on course information.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

Album: It changes all the time, but I am currently listening a lot to Blur’s Parklife – it reminds me of a very sunny summer in Dorset.

Film: Spirited Away, I love the fact that it has a little girl heroine and the animation is amazing.

Novel: So hard to choose. Two spring to mind – First, The House of Sleep by Jonathan Coe. It’s a rare book that can make you laugh out loud and cry but this one did - it’s both mystery and love story but you wouldn’t know that from the blurb….Second Restless by William Boyd. An author who writes convincingly real female characters and a brilliant thriller – think I missed my stop a few times when reading this one…

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

Q: What do you call a pig with three eyes?

A: A Piiig

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan and Harry Hill (although it might get a bit messy!)

What advice would you give your younger self?

I can be a bit of an idealist so I would tell my younger self that it’s ok to agree, to disagree, and that you don’t have to win every argument.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I love Karaoke and bees.

What is your favourite place?

Kimmeridge Bay (Dorset). We used to go there a lot with my three children when they were younger. It’s a fascinating place on the Jurassic Coast with slate cliffs where you can find fossilized ammonites and other prehistoric sea life. There’s a huge natural stone jetty (complete with the imprint of fossils), which lets you walk out quite a long way at low-tide when it’s full of children crabbing and fishing. The water is beautifully clear for swimming and spotting of marine creatures and the pebbles are great for throwing or skimming competitions.