Ed­u­ca­tional pro­gramme lifts work­place skills and morale

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - HEALTH & SAFETY - DE­TAILS, WWW.UPSKILLS.CO.NZ

As a tyre shred­der at Waste Man­age­ment, Billy Henry is con­stantly as­sess­ing safety risks through­out the day, and thanks to a work­place lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy project called Skills First, he is now more con­fi­dent in his abil­ity to keep him­self and his work­ers safe.

Henry and his team use heavy, dan­ger­ous ma­chin­ery on a daily ba­sis and need to nav­i­gate around large trucks in the yard. His role re­quires a good grasp on health and safety as well as the pro­to­cols and pro­ce­dures to en­sure ev­ery­one is kept safe. But this didn’t al­ways come easy to Henry who would some­times strug­gle with the writ­ten and oral com­mu­ni­ca­tion as­pects of the job.

Henry’s lead­er­ship team recog­nised the sup­port and ad­di­tional skills he and many of his co-work­ers could ben­e­fit from, and now he is one of more than 150 Waste Man­age­ment team mem­bers to un­dergo train­ing through Skills First, an award-win­ning train­ing pro­gramme de­vel­oped in co­or­di­na­tion with Upskills, a busi­ness with pur­pose that runs tu­tor-lead pro­grammes to teach lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy in the work­place.

Henry, who is cur­rently un­der­go­ing his Skills First train­ing, says, “I never thought I would be where I am to­day with­out Upskills. They’ve built my con­fi­dence up with learn­ing. Com­mu­ni­cat­ing with other peo­ple is eas­ier now. I get along bet­ter with the other work­ers.”

The Skills First pro­gramme has also had a pos­i­tive im­pact on Henry’s fam­ily en­vi­ron­ment “Skills First has helped with my fam­ily, we’re hap­pier… I’m spend­ing more time with the kids, talk­ing a bit more. I’m not re­ally much of a reader, but they help me to learn how to read a bit more, which has helped me with my kids.”

Waste Man­age­ment Na­tional Cor­po­rate Ser­vices and HR Man­ager Sharon Scott says the pro­gramme has been par­tic­u­larly help­ful for the high num­ber of Pasi­fika and mi­grant em­ploy­ees who have English as a sec­ond lan­guage and those who may not have com­pleted high school or higher level qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

“We’re an or­gan­i­sa­tion work­ing in a high-risk in­dus­try – our drivers and labour­ers need to un­der­stand and act on in­for­ma­tion we give them to get home safely. Help­ing our em­ploy­ees with nu­mer­acy and lit­er­acy skills was a no- brainer for us in terms of mu­tu­ally ben­e­fit­ing both our em­ploy­ees and the com­pany.”

The pro­gramme, which be­gan in 2016, pro­vides 40 hours of train­ing for each par­tic­i­pant. In the first year 100 team mem­bers took part in the Skills First ini­tia­tive and a fur­ther 75 com­pleted the train­ing in 2017. This year, an­other 55 staff will go through the pro­gramme.

Sarah Bal­four, Di­rec­tor and co-founder of Upskills, says, “We have seen so many ben­e­fits across the board from this train­ing, with Billy be­ing only one ex­am­ple. It not only im­proves their per­for­mance, saves our clients time and money, but it also em­pow­ers in­di­vid­u­als both on the job and out­side of their work. It’s a great feel­ing to be build­ing peo­ple up and giv­ing them the tools to do their job to the best of their abil­ity.”

Upskills runs tai­lored ed­u­ca­tional pro­grammes to de­liver high cal­i­bre train­ing in the work­place for a range of or­gan­i­sa­tions and busi­nesses, in­clud­ing projects that utilise the Govern­ment’s work­place lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy fund.

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