Case study: FREE skills training boosts business post-pandemic

The challenge

As a result of the pandemic, businesses across the nation had to furlough many employees, which naturally put a halt on staff skill development.

This ran true for Maval, a Middlesbrough-based business specialising in mechanical and electrical engineering contracting. When the first lockdown hit back in 2020, its normally 35-strong workforce had to be condensed down to a core team of six electricians and plumbers.

When the business was able to operate at full capacity once more, senior management found they were habitually relying on that same core team to work on more technical jobs. Not only did this cause delays to jobs as work rotas became difficult to manage, but other employees weren’t getting the opportunity to develop their skills.

Maval understood that providing its employees with skills training would give the business greater flexibility, ensuring that it could provide each of its clients with access to highly-skilled workers. This would in-turn help employees to feel confident working across the various sectors – including healthcare, manufacturing and hospitality – that the business operates within.

The training

Maval’s director, Darren Trotter, heard about the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) Programme through a regional business newsletter. After enquiring to find out more, he was put in touch with Tim Barber at DC Training, one of the specialist training providers working with Calderdale College, which oversees the delivery of SSW across Tees Valley.

Tim worked with Darren to undertake a skills assessment, taking into account both the business’ existing skills gaps and the skills that Darren felt Maval would need to introduce to be able to thrive in the future. This helped determine the best courses for Darren’s team.

All members of staff undertook training in Industrial Environmental Awareness to help them feel safer and more confident when working in industrial environments across both the public and the private sector. Several engineers also  undertook additional training which meant they could operate specialised equipment such as scissor lifts, as previously only a handful of staff were qualified to do so.

Darren found that some employees had been working as supervisors without any formal training, which was impacting their confidence as they didn’t feel qualified to make decisions on behalf of the business. To resolve this, the business enrolled them in the Certificate in Team Leading Principles, which also meant they could progress to additional industry standardised training such as the CITB Site Supervisor course.

What’s more, to improve senior staffs’ IT skills, some took courses in Microsoft Office so they could feel confident in doing more tasks such as emailing clients professionally and ordering materials.

Due to Covid restrictions, the training was delivered in smaller groups than usual, through a mixture of theory and interactive practical sessions.

The results

The most significant impact the training has had is the flexibility it has given Maval as a business.

Office staff are finding it much easier to arrange work rotas, meaning they can focus on other business priorities, and it’s also meant that junior members of the team are able to take on additional responsibility, which has significantly improved morale. Overall, employees are enjoying the variety of jobs they are now being given and they feel they can finally progress in their careers after the disruption the pandemic caused them.

Commenting on the impact of the training, Darren said: “Thanks to SSW, not only do we have greater flexibility when allocating jobs, but we’ve been able to support staff to take them onto the next step in their careers. We’ve been able to promote 13 employees to team leaders, which has had a huge impact on their confidence.

“This increase in confidence has also led to improved customer satisfaction, resulting in a higher number of customers returning for repeat business, compared with the period before the pandemic.”

Training is now an integral part of the company culture at Maval and will be a key component as they continue to expand.

Success from skills training

The SSW programme has helped over 4,000 employed people in the Tees Valley region, with over 1160 SMEs, including Maval, having taken advantage of the opportunity.

Helen Howland, Head of the Skills Support for the Workforce Programme in Tees Valley, said: “It’s very gratifying to see the positive impact that the SSW programme continues to have for businesses across the region. The fact that Maval has been able not only to recover from the disruption of the pandemic, but also secure an increased level of repeat business and gear up for further growth, is fantastic.”

For more information on training and development opportunities through the Skills Support for the Workforce Programme, please click here.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email