Established in 2002, Tees Valley-based Meat Zone is one of the UK’s largest meat processors in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector.
Following a recent recruitment drive, it seemed the right time for the company’s site manager Claire Burton to invest in training for new and existing employees.
Claire said: “Our people already had the skills but we knew that by undertaking qualifications and accreditations, they could be developed further. This would not only progress their careers, but support our business objectives.
“We anticipated that the volume of our production would need to increase to keep up with changing demand and this in turn would lead to new lines being opened and more staff operating them. With a fully-equipped team, we could tackle these challenges and create a stronger, future-proofed workforce.”
The Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) project offers fully-funded training courses to employees of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). As well as helping businesses to plug any skills gaps they may have, training also boosts productivity and fuels growth. Co-financed through the European Union’s European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency, the project is open to SMEs seeking non-compulsory, work-based training to support their business growth plan.
Research has found that employees who complete this kind of certified training are more satisfied in their jobs and work more effectively. Unfortunately, for many employers a lack of time and difficulties meeting the cost of training can act as barriers. The Skills Support for the Workforce project is designed to address these challenges.
Fully Funded Training
Claire was able to access fully funded training courses across a range of manufacturing operations through Calderdale College, prime contractor for Skills Support for the Workforce.
“It is always useful to bring in an external provider to deliver a fresh, new approach to training and the Skills Support for the Workforce programme seemed the best option as it would allow us to upskill our workforce at no extra cost to us as a business,” Claire said.
A Training Needs Analysis was conducted by LMR Training which identified training that would support the day-to-day running of the production department with staff progression and company growth in mind. A bespoke delivery plan was then created using units from suitable courses, ensuring minimal disruption to production throughout the process.
The qualifications motivated and focused the workforce as they were able to consolidate existing skills and gain new ones. Each of the employees has since progressed in their role with more responsibility or onto apprenticeships, and production has also been boosted and streamlined.
Claire added: “Our people now feel empowered to make decisions during the production process and problem-solve should anything go wrong on any part of the line. The fact that the majority of our employees who undertook the training have continued onto apprenticeships is only a positive for our staff and the business overall.”
Ebrahim Dockrat, Director of External Funding at Calderdale College, prime contractor for the project highlighted the SSW benefits: “We offer a range of flexible, bespoke training plans designed to help your business grow. By training your staff you can improve your ability to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment, nurture a leadership team for the future and make you an employer of choice for emerging talent.
“As this training is funded with European money this is the last project of its kind,” added Mr Dockrat. “This funding is only available until July 2018 and so it’s a case of get it whilst you still can.”
For more information on the Skills Support for the Workforce project and to see if your business is eligible for fully funded training click here