Drinks manufacturer Britvic has overcome a series of logistical challenges to implement an in-house training programme for shop-floor supervisors.
Nine team co-ordinators at its Beckton plant took part in the year-long NEBS Certificate in Management programme - part of a larger strategy to develop the role of team co-ordinators, who provide the first level of supervision at Britvic.
The NEBS CIM provides a basic foundation for line managers and aims to improve performance, while serving as a stepping stone to further qualifications. Its modules cover the areas of managing people, activities, information and resources, and the award provides knowledge and skills appropriate to at least the S/NVQ in Management Level 3.
"We were looking for more than just an academic programme that would give them a qualification at the end," said Terri Turner, operations development manager at Beckton.
Against that wish list were the logistical challenges of releasing employees from a production line that runs round-the-clock, in the heart of east London, as well as bringing together team co-ordinators who work different shift patterns.
The answer was a tailored programme delivered on-site. In order to get everyone together, tuition often took place as early as 6am - the start of Beckton's early, and most popular, shift.
To facilitate bonding, the programme was launched with a five-day, off-site introductory certificate. Involving senior managers from Beckton, the introduction built a sense of commitment to the programme among candidates, also enabling them to bond as a group - difficult in the fast-moving environment of the shop-floor.
Action learning sets - comprised mainly of candidates who shared shifts - were formed to promote networking on the shop-floor. Britvic took networking a step further, setting up an in-company mentoring scheme in which each candidate was mentored both by their immediate manager, the shift leader, and by a member of Beckton's leadership group.
The scheme had the dual effect of expanding the team co-ordinators' understanding of the organisation and building 'the coaching and mentoring abilities' of senior managers, said Turner. "The mentoring, in particular, has given rise to challenges for the shift leaders - the team co-ordinators are coming back with the latest management theory and feeding it up the line."