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Employers should offer training to semi-skilled workers

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Organisations should ensure they offer development opportunities to semi-skilled workers, according to Debi Bell, head of HR services for drain specialist Lanes Group

“If people are given extra training, or are trained to develop further, they are more engaged, more motivated, and feel their company is investing in their career,” Bell told HR magazine. “You can make them feel valued and loyal to your brand, and they won’t want to jump ship at the next opportunity.”

The benefits do not stop at improved retention. “It gives an understanding of what their job means,” Bell continued. “Most of our employees work in depots so they can feel secluded. When you are training you have the opportunity to bring people together and ensure they feel part of the company. They are part of a big business and you can help them to understand where they fit in.”

Lanes offers its employees a City & Guilds course for drainage engineers, the first of its kind in the UK. The qualification can lead staff to take part in further training such as the Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS), a nationally-recognised card that acknowledges the holder’s skills. Since the start of the programme 51 Lanes engineers have completed the course.

Chris Wilde, CCTV systems manager at Lanes Group and one of the founders of the course, explained that it was devised and developed after an in-depth review of a site incident that resulted in flood damage.

“The review found the root cause was a lack of understanding and knowledge of the drainage system by the staff at this particular site,” he said. “As part of our review process we always look for possible positive outcomes and the idea of the course was born.”

Bell added that workforce motivation has risen since the introduction of the scheme. “It’s great that we’re doing this, and I hope it will mean employees feel better about their work and like they are a part of something that will grow.”