Brand Partnership (now Symington’s) decided in 2004 to embark on their first formal training programme using NLTG to deliver level 2 Apprenticeships to ten selected employees. Among the ten was a young woman by the name of Karen Williams who worked as a machine operator producing packs of soup, pasta and rice products in a very labour intensive environment. The course helped Karen to improve both her numeracy and literacy skills whilst expanding her knowledge and skills to be able to do her job and understand the systems in place that were previously a pain to abide by and to be avoided whenever possible.
The qualification was completed within the time required and it proved to be a stepping stone for a number of the candidates who progressed onto different tasks within the company. Karen became involved with the training of new and existing colleagues using the equipment and following the procedures she had previously hated. As her skills and enthusiasm to learn came to the attention of the management her job role progressed from training to setting up and becoming a major part of the team to Train the Trainer. This job involved re-writing the existing training manuals to bring them up to date with current legal and company practices and also having worked on the equipment herself, she could bring her own experience to make the new documents a little more user friendly for the people who would have to use them.
This in turn led to Karen being asked to help re-write the comply Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) to be used throughout the company again using her own on the job experiences to bare on the documents. Karen’s communication skills improved, as she had to work with colleagues at all levels within the company management structure to carry out and have passed the tasks that were completed. Her efforts did not go un-noticed, and as the company went through a stage of restructuring its management and personnel, Karen found herself with the chance to become Assistant Unit Manager on a trial basis to see if she could handle the job before being offered the job permanently. As a result of the progression within the company, Karen was offered the opportunity to start her level 3 Apprenticeship qualification, which she started along with six colleagues in 2010.
At this point, things began to go very wrong in her home life. The new job proved to be very demanding on both her skills and time. Karen was also dealt a severe blow with several close relatives becoming seriously ill and sadly passing away in a short space of time. Karen decided to give up the course as she could not give it the time and work she believed it required with all that was going on around her; the demands of the job, the qualification and devoting time to looking after family and friends affected by the situation at home. It was then arranged, with the consent of her employer, to take an agreed break in learning to give Karen the time and space to decide what she wanted to do. She returned after a six month break and sat a technical test as an introduction back to the course. Throughout the last 12 months, Karen has maintained her professional standards at work making improvements to both productivity and quality standards and built excellent relations with the management staff. Karen also raised money to support the various charities she came into contact with as a result of the issues she had to deal with. Karen has organised events involving family, friends and companies to help raise both money and awareness of the various charities she felt helped both her and her family at a time they needed it most. Karen has not yet completed her qualification but has shown through sheer determination that she will not let things stand in her way when aiming for her goals.