Components company training its way through the recession

Posted on by karen.smith

An automotive component manufacturer, which is training its way through the recession rather than make redundancies, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

TRB of St Asaph is one of nine finalists in three categories in the National Training Awards, organised within Wales by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation Wales (NTfW).

The National Training Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of employers who have Investors in People accreditation and who have used excellence in training and skills development to impact on their business.

The winners will be announced at a high profile awards presentation ceremony at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on Wednesday, October 24, where the winners of the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru will also be recognised. The joint awards which will be attended by around 300 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales.

Sponsor of the National Training Awards, which aim to showcase excellence in skills development in Wales, is City & Guilds and media partner is Media Wales.

When automotive component manufacturer TRB, a finalist in the Medium Sized Employer category, saw volumes crash by up to 50 per cent with the onset of the economic crisis, surprisingly redundancies for their 170-plus workforce wasn’t an option. They all agreed to train their way through the recession.

TRB, part of the Japanese multi-national Tokai Rika company, assembles switches, such as indicator, window and heater controls, principally for car manufacturer Toyota.

With less work employees took unpaid leave, attended training workshops and a team spent a week tidying up and painting a church. But as the recession went deeper the company implemented a four-day week, which meant they could access ProAct funding through the Welsh Government and European Social Fund to assist with training during short-time working and help subsidise salaries.

Through ProAct funding, TRB’s Team Member Development Strategy was launched. The aim was to improve skills and training as a way of returning to profit and safeguard jobs. During the implementation of this strategy the company organised 1,200 training days involving 179 staff, with 68 external courses provided.

General manager human resources Rob Lloyd said: “The strategy was a huge success in not only achieving its targets but also establishing a foundation to carry us forward. Despite a reduced turnover the company has returned to profit and we now have a highly-trained and motivated workforce”

Further evidence of that success was provided when Investors in People status was achieved in 2011 and the company won the Engineering Employer’s Federation regional award for Skills and Training.

Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert said: “These joint awards recognise excellence by individuals, employers and learning providers in delivering training. I am delighted with the standard of this year’s finalists and the variety across all ages and sectors, which shows the strength of the skills being delivered in Wales.

“All the finalists have an inspiring story to tell and are great ambassadors for Investors in People and other programmes in Wales. The Investors in People standard helps businesses become more competitive and improves their performance and results by maximising the potential of their staff.”

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