New literacy partnership breaks down barriers

It was a simple online survey that led Solo Plastics’ CEO Alan Sutcliffe to discover many of his production staff were struggling with digital literacy, language and unable to use a computer.

“Only around five per cent of staff returned our questionnaire and when I asked why no-one was filling the form out, it turned out that many had limited digital skills and most had little experience using computers. There were also challenges around English language skills to understand the questions. At the same time, we were about to implement some automation in the factory meaning staff would have to use computers more and more, so we made the decision to pause that rollout and instead focus on how to upskill our staff in English, numeracy, digital literacy, and leadership,” says Alan.

At the same time, Competenz Workforce Development Business Partner Debs Wand was finding that, through the course of some manufacturing qualifications, many learners were struggling with their literacy and foundation skills.

“There is no standard training programme,” says Debs. “Upskills and Jupiter Training design programmes that are tailored to the employer, often including the type of documentation or machinery employees or trainees will encounter in their work.”

“The aim was to increase the team’s knowledge and motivate them to own their processes, accept new technology, and to give them confidence to speak up and suggest ideas. The course was taught at their pace and absolutely delivered – the feedback and morale boost has been amazing, and we now have 10 people enrolled on a second, more advanced course and three on a leadership course.”

“Employers tell us that this training has resulted in increased staff engagement, greater productivity and more autonomous decision making. For the learners, they achieve a nationally recognised qualification, increased confidence and better communication skills. Ultimately it results in more enjoyment at work.”

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