Grow your own policy pays off for Utility Partnership
An energy solutions company, which has implemented a ‘grow our own’ policy to overcome a skills shortage that was stunting business growth, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.
Cardiff-based Utility Partnership Ltd 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 for 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.
A skills shortage within its sector could have prevented Utility Partnership Ltd achieving growth and increasing its workforce, but the company implemented a ‘grow our own’ policy, investing in an in house training scheme aimed at developing the 165 strong workforce.
The cost of training was in excess of £108,000, which would have been a considerable burden to the company, who provide energy solutions for the likes of Asda, Severn Trent and Vodafone.
Some 4,000 hours were invested in training thanks to funding from Welsh Government and the European Social Fund, including a grant through the Skills Growth Wales scheme. As part of the training staff reduced energy and waste costs at the company’s offices and this led to them securing a Level 5 Green Dragon Award.
Utility Partnership chief executive Rhys Wynne said: “We were unable to achieve our growth ambitions because of the skills shortage within the sector and we could not promote people based solely on technical ability when they had limited line management knowledge. “
A comprehensive training programme to improve technical and management skills was introduced in 2010, complemented by mentoring. The results have been remarkable with the company on track to achieve its strategic goal of 20 per cent growth by 2015, with 28 new high-value jobs created and 21 employees promoted.
“Results have encouraged us to continue with this approach and, as well as generating greater staff loyalty, lucrative contracts have been secured, demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of learning,” added Rhys.
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.”