Growing food company reaping the rewards of vocational qualifications

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Sandra Walker (left) with Dailycer UK’s HR manager Jo Butterworth (centre) and Coleg Cambria trainer Yvonne Evans.

Sandra Walker (left) with Dailycer UK’s HR manager Jo Butterworth (centre) and Coleg Cambria trainer Yvonne Evans.

The recent growth of Deeside-based food manufacturer Dailycer UK has coincided with the company’s successful staff training collaboration with Coleg Cambria.

Four years after signing a partnership agreement with the college, the high quality producer of cereal bars and cereals has, during that period, seen 250 staff undergo training in 11 different vocational qualifications.

The qualifications are based on Proficiency in Food Industry Skills, Food Manufacture, Warehouse and Storage, IT, Business Administration and Engineering.

A fully-supported training room at the business, with 24-hour access, has helped Dailycer retain and develop its highly-skilled workforce.

The company’s commitment to vocational qualifications has now been recognised as it is one of three finalists in the running to become VQ (Vocational Qualification) Employer of the Year at the showpiece awards ceremony on June 9 at St David’s Hotel, Cardiff.

Organised by the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills (DfES), the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) and CollegesWales, the VQ Awards help to showcase individuals and organisations that have raised the standard of the services they offer as a result of vocational qualifications.

The awards, which are part funded by the European Social Fund, are now in their eighth year and coincide with VQ Day – a UK-wide celebration of vocational qualifications for students, teachers, training providers and employers – which is held on June 10.

Dailycer UK’s Human Resources manager Jo Butterworth said: “In 2009, we were faced with a challenging economic climate and we saw vocational qualifications as a tool to encourage staff retention and as an internal promotional tool for line leaders following reorganisation.

“We needed to use vocational qualifications to maintain our desire to be an ‘employer of choice’. We worked with Dailycer trainers and Coleg Cambria to trial the programmes and then celebrated the staff achievements, which lifted morale and self-esteem. This encouraged others to learn new skills and boosted confidence through training.

“We focused on developing our production staff, where the average age is 48, through an advanced food hygiene and food safety qualification. This was seen as essential to enable staff to support the improved product portfolio.

“The opportunity to gain vocational qualifications on site is now seen as a great recruitment tool as the organisation grows.”

New business opportunities are expected to see the company increase turnover by 25 per cent over the next 12 months and the training programme, supported by the European Social Fund through a Welsh Government initiative, is very much a key part of this success story.

Yvonne Evans, Coleg Cambria’s lead internal quality assurer and assessor for food manufacturing, said: “Our partnership with Dailycer UK is delivering an impressive range of qualifications. They have been a great company to partner with.”

The other VQ Employer of the Year finalists are professional hair salon, Spirit Hair Team in Ystrad Mynach and children’s nursery Little Inspirations from Llantrisant. The award recognises employers who promote the value of vocational qualifications in the workplace and make a real contribution, relative to their size, to improving skills and national competitiveness.

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James congratulated the inspirational finalists and also praised all the employers who had entered the VQ Awards this year.

“A VQ Award is more than just an award; it’s a symbol of dedication towards your chosen profession,” she said. “Professional and personal development programmes are utilised for staff to enable them to follow a pathway of learning to meet company, customer and individual needs.

“The VQ Awards help us to celebrate those Welsh employers and learners who are already going that extra mile when it comes to developing vocational skills and qualifications.

“If the Welsh economy is to continue to grow then we must ensure that employers, individuals and the Welsh Government work together to invest in the right skills for success in order to equip Wales with a world class work force.”

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