In brief

This week’s news in brief

Financial reward

Training subsidies totalling £20m are up for grabs in South Yorkshire.  The local Learning & Skills Council is
highlighting the pot of EU funds available in a high-profile advertising
campaign called ‘Come and Get it’. Director of the EU Objective 1 Programme in
South Yorkshire, Sylvia Yates, pointed out that "action to improve the
skills of South Yorkshire’s employees is vital", and that local employers
have until September 2004 to use the money.

Council consultants

As part of its shift to enable residents to have all their questions about
city council services – from broken street lights to booking a sports hall –
answered by dialling one, easy-to-remember telephone number, Newport City
Council has undertaken a large training programme at its newly launched Newport
City Contact Centre. The current average of 5,000 calls a week is expected to
rise to 8,000 by the end of the year, said centre manager Tony Curliss, and
contact centre specialist RouteOne has been appointed to train the 85 staff.

Mature apprenticeships

Employees aged between 23 and 45 at BMW’s engine plan in Hams Hall, North
Warwickshire, have completed a mature modern apprenticeship programme and
gained results higher than the national average. Completed in two-and-a-half
years, which is 60 per cent of the completion time of a normal modern
apprenticeship, the programme has provided the company with 19 qualified
personnel in electrical and mechanical maintenance. The Science, Engineering
and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance worked in partnership with BMW.

Back to the floor

Inspired by the BBC TV series Back to the Floor, Capital One Bank has sent
its senior customer service managers to work in its frontline call centres.
Call centre associates were able to bid for which senior manager they would
like to spend a day in their shoes. Forefeits were issued for managers who
didn’t make the grade, and prizes were issued for the day’s best performances.

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