Case study - Alex Smiles Ltd

Becky Smiles
Training & Development Manager
Alex Smiles Ltd, Sunderland

I first heard about Workplace Learning Advocates through the Road Haulage Association and thought it sounded like a really interesting way of looking at skills development.

The company is a private company which was established in 1973 to provide waste collection, reclamation and disposal services to a wide range of customers including local industry, local councils and the general public.

Training and development is important to us – we train a lot of our people through Apprenticeships and NVQs and have signed the Skills Pledge. We want to help all our employees realise their potential by developing their basic skills and working towards relevant, valuable qualifications.

However, people always don’t come forward to take up training opportunities. The WLA training has given me lots of ideas as to how to engage those people and the support I need to create a buzz about training around the organization.

The first drop in session was very well attended. It was initially only open to staff who have signed up for the NVQs and Apprenticeships. It was so successful that I’m now looking to roll this out further and provide a monthly drop in session for literacy, numeracy and IT for all members of staff. I am just in the process of designing posters to put on the notice boards and to send out with payslips so that we can publicise the drop in sessions.

I have engaged a local company to roll out NVQ’s and apprenticeships in Team Leadership, Customer Services and Administration. Eleven members of staff have taken up this offer and as part of the training we have requested drop in sessions so that the learners have additional support for the course itself along with literacy, numeracy and IT.

WLA Training has given me so many ideas about how to motivate people to be much more focused on training. Knowing I’ve got ongoing support whenever I need it and a network of WLAs to help with ideas is a great confidence booster. It’s a great feeling - to be able support people who want to learn is really satisfying.