Skills Support for the Workforce

Vent-Tech Limited

Vent-Tech Limited is a one-stop-shop for all dust and fume extraction requirements including training, installation, maintenance and testing. The business has a range of customers including the food industry, schools, manufacturers, and the fire service. 

The business was facing a number of challenges including managing the demands of the business, ensuring that the level of work can be met, and being able to find employees with the required skills for the industry.

Owner Adrian Sims found out about the Skills Support for the Workforce Programme (SSW) through the Growth Hub, and was made aware that the programme is co-financed by European Social Fund (ESF) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), so the business could access a range of funded training.

Tailored Approach

The training was carried out by CMN Training, one of the expert providers chosen to deliver the SSW programme. Lisa Hutchings, Skills Broker at CMN Training met with owner Adrian Sims via Teams to conduct a training needs analysis. This included discussing the business, operations and challenges they face.

Lisa says:

“The great thing about the Skills Support for the Workforce programme is that it allows CMN and the employer to work together to create bespoke packages of training, relevant to the business. This provided great flexibility for Vent-Tech, overcoming the barrier of allowing staff the time to train.”

The goal for the business was to develop training programmes to upskill the workforce which would provide the skills and knowledge to use Vent-Tech software and documents competently, communicate better with customers, as well as improve leadership & management and time management skills, all of which would enable employees to be more efficient within the workplace.

Due to the level of work, taking time out to upskill employees could have been a barrier, however CMN worked with the business to ensure that the training was flexible.

The Training

To date eight employees have benefitted from ESF support. Training delivered so far includes:

  • IT Skills: Whilst employees could use Excel and Word at various levels, the skills gaps typically lied with conditional formatting and using functions which risked incorrect data. To meet the needs of the business the training was tailored to the use of relevant business documents within Vent-Tech, and it was delivered over two days.
  • Sales: There was a need to ensure that employees are fulfilling every part of the process including communication, design and quote. The course content covered steps to ensure the client has the information required to make those key decisions, as opposed to hard sales techniques.
  • Upskilling of the Technical Manager: The Technical Manager needed to clearly differentiate himself between being a manager and a team member, along with developing delegation skills and being able to manage potential conflict in the workplace. Training completed included: Introduction to Leadership & Management, People Management, Dealing with Conflict in the Workplace, Assertive Management and Appraisals and Performance Management.

Further training is currently being undertaken:

  • Communication Skills: Communication is one of the key cornerstones of Vent-Tech’s business culture. CMN is working with Vent-Tech to create a bespoke course for the technical team, which covers communication skills, including verbal (i.e. face-to-face and phone), as well as non-verbal, how to produce business standard emails, how they should be structured, and what they should and should not contain.
  • Time Management: Vent-Tech identified that to improve efficiency in the business, there is a need to upskill employees in time management, so they are able to prioritise workloads, manage expectations and delegate when required. Being able to manage time effectively and efficiently would enable employees to take responsibility for additional tasks and to meet clients’ required timeframes.
  • WordPress: At present the business outsources the build and maintenance of the company website, which has been built on WordPress. There is the opportunity to bring this back in-house, upskilling two employees to take on the additional responsibility of maintaining the website.

The Impact

As a result of the training, Vent-Tech and their employees have benefitted in the following ways:

  • The skills gaps of employees have been bridged so they have the necessary IT, communication and sales skills to be more efficient within the workplace.
  • Investment in staff training has resulted in an increase in responsibilities which has boosted morale and created a valued, empowered workforce.
  • The skills gained have created a sustainable workforce who now has the knowledge for the future.

An employee has progressed within the workplace, taking on additional responsibility for teaching other employees the sales process. Further progressions are expected following the completion of the training programmes.

Adrian Sims explains:

“Thanks to CMN we were able to develop programmes that were right and relevant for the business. The flexibility of the delivery allowed us the time to upskill employees.  We will continue to invest in training the team, which in turn will support the business objectives, in terms of having a valued workforce who are efficient, confident and competent in their roles.”