Meet Kyle Cooke, INSTANDA’s Technical Training Manager

Posted on 3rd October 2023

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Meet Kyle Cooke, INSTANDA’s Technical Training Manager

Posted on 3rd October 2023

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It’s hard to believe that Technical Training Manager, Kyle Cooke, joined the INSTANDA team in November 2022. In the past 10 months, he has been super busy transforming INSTANDA's Foundation Training into a fully digital learning experience.

As the person to go to for all platform training needs and the architect behind INSTANDA's technical learning, we wanted to ask Kyle a few things about his motivations and ambitions.

Kyle, tell us about life before INSTANDA?

From my early days as a dancer, my passion for learning has always been a driving force in my life. After a successful career touring the world as a professional dancer and aerialist, knee surgeries forced me to end my performing career. However, I found joy in teaching ballet and watching my students transform. This led me to explore other teaching opportunities and so I ventured into teaching English as a foreign language, which took me all over Europe.

During my time as an English teacher, I taught students of all ages and abilities. However, it was tutoring Chinese children virtually that truly shaped my approach to training. Since English was new to my pupils, I had to get creative and use practical tutorials to help them grasp the language. Giving them every opportunity to practise their English step by step was key to their learning.

Although I enjoyed teaching, I really wanted to work in a professional environment. Recognising the need for experience, I took a Call Centre position at a large insurer. As soon as the opportunity arose, I transitioned into a learning and development role. Like my role at INSTANDA, I took ownership of the position. Initially, I delivered core system training to Customer Experience Centre teams. However, early in my role all training had to be shifted to a virtual format due to Covid-19. This was my first venture into large-scale digital technical training. It was a massive undertaking to convert all the training into digital modules and roll it out to every underwriter and system user. However, it had to be done and the benefits were enormous. Training became far quicker and more efficient, saving the company vast amounts of time.

What brought you to INSTANDA?

Some people I knew had joined INSTANDA and I could see how much they were growing in a way that I had never seen before. When I saw the role of Technical Training Manager advertised, I knew that it was the career opportunity I had been waiting for. I would be combining everything I had learned to build a training function from scratch, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.

Could you tell us about your role? What do you do?

As Technical Training Manager, I ensure all users of INSTANDA are competent configurators by the end of their Foundation Training. This includes assigning courses, but crucially ensuring I am there for in-the-moment support. The other side of my role is scoping the evolution of technical training. As the functionality of INSTANDA is ever growing, there are always new technical courses to be created and so it’s an evolving role.

What teams do you work closely with?

I work with several teams because training impacts so many different touchpoints across the business.

I work closely with the configuration analysts in each region to ensure the training content is correct. This is really important because language and terminology varies across regions. Likewise, it’s also important that I work with our technical writer and UX team to ensure that the technical training aligns with the platform functionality.

My role is closely tied to platform support. It’s important that the support team and I work together to minimise ‘how do I do this?’ queries that can be addressed through training. It’s a continuous loop of learning and feedback.

Also, I like to check-in with the Account Managers on the conversations they’re having with clients so that I am capturing as much client feedback as possible.

What do you love most about training?

Circling back to my days teaching English to Chinese students, successful training is about giving learners the opportunity to keep practising. I love knowing that I was the support function for someone bettering themselves. Let's take the INSTANDA platform as an example. INSTANDA is incredibly intuitive, but people still need to know how to use it effectively. My absolute passion is getting people who are new to the platform, or those who need more advanced training, to be able to do something and do it really well. For me, it’s about creating competent, empowered users.

How valued do you feel as an individual?

I feel massively valued. One of the many good things about INSTANDA is that there’s a real focus on recruiting people for their ability and individual skillset. From the very beginning, Sara Shipley, INSTANDA’s CHRO, and Hazel Spain, INSTANDA’s Global Learning and Development Lead, have entrusted me with implementing what I know works best.

It sounds like a very busy role, Kyle. What do you do to balance work and life?

Well, I've hung up my dancing shoes but surprisingly enough I have stable enough knees to run. I like to challenge myself. I completed my first half marathon this year and I absolutely love wild swimming.

For anyone who hasn’t tried wild swimming before, I couldn’t recommend it enough. Being immersed in cold water gives you a profound sense of your place in the world. Just focusing on your every breath places your body and mind into a state of survival and allows you to let go of life’s stresses. At least, that’s how it makes me feel. My husband is not so keen!

When I am not swimming or running, I still like to be outdoors. I spend a lot of time in our garden so that we can live as sustainably as possible during the warmer months.

For me, balance is about making sure you make time for the things and people you love.

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