Skills Support for the Workforce

Timbersource Ltd

Timbersource Ltd is a leading online timber merchant in the UK and has been supplying high quality sustainable wood to the building trade and general public since 2000. The business is a member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Timbersource employs 18 full-time members of staff based at Shepton Mallett.

Within the business there is a vast array of staff with different emotions, behaviours and views. A challenge for the management team is to ensure that they have the skills and abilities to get the best out of their teams whilst maximising productivity within the business.

How SSW helped

Timbersource recognised it is of utmost importance that managers promote a consistent set of values, resolve conflict and support equality and diversity.

The business was referred to the Skills Support for the Workforce programme (SSW) by the Inspire Programme. As SSW is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), Timbersource was able to access support at no cost to the business.

Timbersource met with Lisa Hutchings at Cornwall Marine Network, one of Serco’s expert training providers chosen to deliver the SSW programme. A training needs analysis was undertaken which reviewed the skills needs within the business and identified appropriate training that Cornwall Marine Network could provide. The key focus of the training needs analysis was to identify support that would help managers to manage their teams and business performance.

The Training

Following discussion, 2 managers were identified to undertake the Level 3 Award in Leadership and Management. The training comprised of two units and three assignments which covered a range of topics:

  • The different leadership styles and how each style can impact on work procedures
  • Motivational theories and their application in the workplace
  • Importance of organisational policies and procedures
  • Utilising information to make effective decisions and find solutions to problems
  • Managing and monitoring performance of the business and employees
  • Understanding people’s different views and values, how to resolve conflict, and support equality and diversity
  • Understanding how benchmarketing is used to manage performance and how appraisals and training are used to improve performance

The learning took place from January to July 2020, and due to Covid-19, the end date was extended with the later stages being delivered remotely.

The Outcome

The training has bridged the skills gaps amongst the managers, who now feel empowered and valued. They have a great understanding of what is required from their role, and the training has given them the tools, understanding and strategies to become good managers. They are now better able to motivate their teams, which has enhanced staff morale and productivity, and has in turn improved the business’ competitive edge within the industry.

One employee has been promoted from Machine Room Supervisor to Machine Room Manager, and the other has taken on extra responsibilities as Operations Manager.

Andrew, who is now the Machine Room Manager, explains how the training has benefited his role and the wider business:

“The training has enabled me to evaluate my staff members better and motivate them in a way for the business to cope with the extreme times we have faced, managing to keep our high levels of production and quality up despite skeleton staff levels. It has also helped me identify areas in which my team needed extra staff to bolster our operation where my opinion has been trusted to help recruit staff to improve my team and therefore the business.”

Lisa Hutchings, Skills Broker at Cornwall Marine Network, adds:

“It was evident that Timbersource value their staff and understand the important of upskilling employees. We worked together to identify the skills required, to address the challenges around motivation of staff, as well as understanding those different emotions, views and values of employees. I am so pleased that employees have now gained the Level 3 qualification in Leadership & Management, which is already having a positive effect on the business.”

Whilst an appraisal process was already in place, a more robust system has been implemented which addresses skills and training needs, including any gaps to be addressed. The new process will see six monthly-reviews where opportunities and needs for up-skilling will be addressed.

Timbersource and Cornwall Marine Network have established a good working relationship and will continue to work together to fulfil any future skills needs.