8th June 2012
A partnership between Coleg Gwent and one of the most well-known family-owned high street stores in the UK is proving that working together can give staff a thirst for learning.
Coleg Gwent’s commercial training department, Business Edge, and has been working with Wilkinson for more than two years to deliver bespoke training to staff members at the business’ distribution site in Magor.
With over 360 stores across the UK, Wilkinson has a strong tradition of developing its staff. The high-street retailer, which sells household essentials, from DIY products to pet goods, sought the expertise of Coleg Gwent when outlining plans to bring a learning centre to its Gwent site.
The partnership between Wilkinson and Coleg Gwent provides the opportunity for staff members to develop core skills aimed at strengthening the overall productivity of the organisation. Essential skills training is available to staff, including English as a second language, IT, mathematics and communication as well as Welsh language courses.
The Essential Skills courses are tailored to suit the needs of Wilkinson employees who can go on to further develop their careers by gaining NVQ qualifications in subjects that are relevant to the role, including management and leadership courses.
Craig Milgate-Hewer, manager at Wilkinson in Magor, said: “The partnership with Coleg Gwent has been excellent for our business and something we were keen to cultivate the relationship from the beginning. We want to get the best out of our employees and give them the chance to develop – a lot of that begins with reducing the stigma around learning.
“We have already seen increased uptake for courses from our staff that are realising the benefits of the training offered through Business Edge. Staff that have completed the courses are more confident, more competent and we find that it increases their enthusiasm for work. The courses bring people closer to the business and engages them with our long term visions and goals.”
Such has been the success of the learning centre that the number of staff enrolling on the course has doubled in its second year of operation. In its first year, from June 2011 to June 2012, 57 staff members completed courses at the centre, compared to 145 that are signed up to courses between June 2012 and June 2013.
Business Edge is dedicated to delivering bespoke business solutions to give businesses a competitive edge. The team is based at Coleg Gwent’s Headquarters in Usk but delivers training at all five of its campuses, as well as onsite depending on clients’ requirements.
Kevin Clare, business liaison officer at Business Edge said: “The development of the training centre at the Wilkinson distribution centre in Magor has demonstrated a real commitment to its staff. Employees at Wilkinson are now seeing the benefits that learning can bring and we hope to enable them to develop and allowing the business to grow.
“An organisation as large as Wilkinson can really benefit from investing in staff, as it increases morale and ensures that the business continues to grow. The partnership also gives people who would never normally consider learning an opportunity to learn some new skills.”