From education to employment

Norwich Job Swap opens window on skills

Pictured, from left, are Colin Waller, Kim Harrington and Ross Walker

Two long-serving employees of Anglian Home Improvements in Norwich swapped jobs for the day to shine the spotlight on skills development.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, the two staff members at the company’s National Administration Conservatory Centre took on each other’s roles.

On Wednesday 7 March, Revenue Planner Colin Waller, who has worked for the company for 17 years, took on the responsibilities of Technical Manager Ross Walker.

Ross, who has spent 20 years with the company, currently manages a team of 16 CAD Operators and architectural technicians who are responsible for the technical drawings and preparation of products for manufacture for customers’ new conservatories and orangeries.

Both Colin and Ross have been undertaking NVQ apprenticeship qualifications delivered by employment and skills organisation Seetec.

Seetec organised the National Apprenticeship Week Job Swap, involving a range of employers, to shine a light on the benefits apprenticeship qualifications bring to individuals and businesses.

Jake O’Mara, Employer Services Consultant, from Seetec said:

“Our work with Anglian Home Improvements demonstrates how we can support employers to develop their workforce by providing a broad range of tailored programmes to meet their skills and talent development needs.”

Ross is close to obtaining his management qualification and Colin has recently completed his team leader qualification.

Colin said: “It’s been hard work, but I’ve gained a lot of confidence from doing the course, especially when dealing with people and giving presentations.”

Colin said he enjoyed finding out more about Ross’s job, as he hoped for a future opportunity to progress to a managerial role: “It was a big jump for me because I normally only manage one person, and it was a lot more complicated than I realised.

“When you’re allocating the drawings and orders to 16 people, you have to know their skill sets, and you have got to hit targets. I’m sure it took me twice as long as it would have taken Ross!”

Ross said: “Originally I joined the company as a technician and I have been promoted to different roles. This has been my first opportunity to do a management qualification, and I’ve been able to enhance my own skills and my skills in managing staff, which also benefits the business.

“Carrying out Colin’s job for the day, which included a conference call with installation colleagues and checking customer contracts, was an insight into what can hold up orders and cause delays. I saw how our processes have become much more automated than when I was involved in that side.

“I discovered that joining the conference call with Colin was beneficial for me as it helps improve liaison with different departments – so I intend to do that again.”

Ross and Colin are among 19 staff members from Anglian’s National Administration Conservatory Centre who embarked on qualifications with Seetec, ranging from Level 2 and 3 business administration up to Level 5 management.

Centre Manager, Kim Harrington, said: “The skills required in the Centre are diverse, ranging from admin duties, customer service and health and safety to technical and architectural services.

“Being able to provide a platform for team members to learn and develop on the job has been hugely beneficial, both for the apprentice and the company. The NVQ process has provided an opportunity to further progress the skills and talent of the team, alongside our own internal training and coaching, irrespective of the apprentices’ age. You are never too old to learn new skills.

“Staff were given the opportunity to choose courses that were relevant for their position, so the training was quite bespoke. Each apprentice also receives coaching throughout to support their progression and gains a qualification.

“From a manager’s perspective, effective training and opportunities to further develop staff aids with identifying additional skills and talent within your team, and the company has an opportunity to identify those who have further potential. This is crucial to being successful and meeting the business’s objectives.”

Anglian Home Improvements’ National Administration Conservatory Centre in Norwich sits between sales and installations conducting vital activities such as technical site surveys and health and safety reviews, and obtaining planning and building regulations approvals, which enable customers’ projects to proceed.

For more inormation about the 11th National Apprenticeship Week Job Swap campaign, click here.

To find out more about developing your workforce, click here

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