Food company Heinz has invested in an on-site learning academy at its Luton factory to improve basic skills in IT, English and Maths, with future plans to offer more advanced training to upgrade the workforce.
The 50,000 intiative is a joint investment with the Learning and Skills Council Bedfordshire and the GMB Union.
“A happy employee is a good worker for us, but if we can help develop somebody with more skills, they could be our next senior person,” said Graham Trevor, site HR manager.
The academy is open to all the factory’s 550 employees, regardless of position, and nearly half have already registered interest. Heinz is in the process of conducting individual training needs analyses to formulate training strategy.
The plan is to offer both tutor-led programmes and e-learning packages supported by a tutor. Heinz will fully fund courses deemed to be of benefit to the business, with staff given time out of the workplace to learn.
For programmes with no direct tie-in to business but which could be of future benefit, Heinz will allow employees to complete half the coursework during working hours, and no fees will be charged for tuition.