Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Polymer specialists learn by doing
Article Type: Notes and news From: Industrial and Commercial Training, Volume 43, Issue 6
A manufacturer of composite and polymer materials has launched a training program to improve the skills of its technicians.
Based in the Isle of Wight but with offices around the world, Gurit UK offers a range of materials, engineering solutions and technical support to customers involved in the wind-energy, transport and marine industries. The company launched the program to ensure that all staff were properly trained to use Gurit UK’s machines.
Calling on the expertise of the Isle of Wight College, 31 technicians enrolled on the polymer-processing National Vocational Qualification level 3 course. Funded by Train to Gain, the course focused on learning by doing.
Three-quarters of the learning took place in the workplace on Gurit UK machinery. The bespoke program catered for the needs and specifications of Gurit UK customers, making the training program truly useful. And because Gurit UK worked closely with the college to deliver the training, changes could be made promptly.
Luke Kerr, operations manager at Gurit UK, explained that trainees were mentored by their managers to ensure success at the end of the course, which won a regional prize in the National Training Awards.
Two years on, 21 candidates have completed the course. Gurit UK reports that the program has resulted in fewer errors, incidents and accidents. And because the graduates are now multi-skilled, the company has been able to survive the loss of staff during the recession, and secure promotions too.
Luke Kerr added: “We have processes that are unique to our business, so it has been important to create bespoke programs that focus on operator, process and product needs. It was important that the program and its candidates continually developed with new business innovations.”