Skills Support for the Workforce

Swindon and Wiltshire manufacturer addresses skills gaps in their workforce with fully funded training

Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) is a programme developed to upskill employees within small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Swindon and Wiltshire. They provide recognised accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses to enhance your employees’ skills, increase the competitiveness of your business and boost the local economy. Wise Ability is part of Serco’s network of expert organisations chosen to deliver the SSW programme. SSW is co-financed by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. 

Patheon, part of Thermo Fisher are a commercial Pharmaceutical manufacturer, currently producing pharma products for the USA market.  Employing approximately 200 people in Swindon & Wiltshire.

Pathoen initially found out about SSW from Higher Futures and Rachel Crossey, Partnership Co- Coordinator at Serco, referred Patheon to Wise Ability to complete a Training Needs Analysis. Wise Ability works closely with Rachel Crossey to ensure that all referrals are actioned in a timely manner.  

Jackie Moxom the Contract Manager from Wise Ability completed the Training Needs Analysis with Samantha Romanek, HR Business Partner at Patheon. 

Samantha said “The meeting gave us the opportunity to identify the qualifications which would be most appropriate in the job roles for our employees to work towards and achieve. Discussions also centred on the delivery models. Wise Ability recognise and understand busy companies need a flexible approach to delivery and assessment activities so not to have a negative impact of employees work. This has supported our candidates to remain on task and to achieve their qualifications. 
Maggie Blandford is our assessor and supported with our Team Leader and Business Administration Level 2 qualifications. All qualifications currently being undertaken are level 2 and have all been delivered in the workplace. To date our employees are either in the process of working towards or have achieved the following qualifications:

  • 8 Employees working towards a NVQ Level 2 in Team Leading  
  • 2 Employees working towards a NVQ level 2 in Business and Administration
  • 6 Employees completed and achieved a NVQ level 2 in  Team Leading 
  • 3 progressions onto a unit of Management Level 3 qualification
  • 1 progression onto a unit of Business and Administration Level 3 qualification
  • 24 employees to work towards a Level 2 Lean Management Techniques accredited qualification 

We continually assess our employees need for training and as Wise Ability have a roll on roll off induction process we are able to refer new candidates at any time which has really helped with our staff development.”

Patheon identified skills gaps within their workforce, Wise Ability created a training programme to upskill the employees. We have needed to adapt an extremely flexible delivery model to allow and encourage candidates to recognise their competencies in their job roles and to develop further skills to make them more effective within the organisation. 

These strategies have proved to be effective as Pathoen continue to refer more of their staff to work towards and achieve qualifications  

Samantha said “The service provided has been extremely professional and has really created a new sense of learning on the site.  Very happy with their [Wise Ability] service, expertise and knowledge.  Really looking forward to continue working with them in the future.”

According to the employee’s needs and capabilities the assessor strongly encourages them to work towards and achieve at the very least a unit of a higher level qualification. This embeds lifelong learning and for staff who do not come from an academic background demonstrates to them they have the ability to achieve higher level qualifications. 

Wise Ability contacted Higher Futures to inform them of the qualifications the candidates at Patheon were working towards or achieved as Higher Futures met with Patheon in July 2017. There have been discussions regarding a Level 4 Management Apprenticeship as a progression for some of the team leaders who are currently working towards a NVQ level 2 in Team Leading. Higher Futures also mapped out some pathways for Patheon’s management training looking at various starting levels.   

Wise Ability are working closely with Higher Futures to ensure the employer and employees training needs are fully met and the progressions are managed effectively  

To find out about accessing fully funded training for employees through the Skills Support for the Workforce programme businesses can contact us.

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