Supermarket chain Asda is to roll out a new scheme that allows staff to go
through basic skills training during work time – while still on full pay.
The Skills for Life project gives employees with below-average numeracy or
literacy skills the chance to attend courses designed to improve their reading,
writing and arithmetic abilities.
The initiative has already had a successful trial in the Midlands, where 80
workers from 10 different stores attended one of the 10-week courses.
The programme attracted staff who suffered with dyslexia and learning
difficulties, and some who had simply forgotten basic skills over the years,
and gave them the opportunity to gain a formal qualification.
Marie Gill, Asda’s head of organisational development, believes the training
will prove popular because staff won’t have to fit it in around family
"This training can make a huge difference to people’s lives and helps
build confidence," she said. "It also improves their performance at
work, but that is a bonus."
Asda trained a team of specialist learning representatives to link up with
local colleges and identify staff who might benefit from the training.
It also received some funding for the project from the Department for
Education and Skills.
By next spring, Gill hopes to have made some progress on extending the
scheme, which could help as many as 5,000 Asda staff each year.