In 2004, the Unipart Logistics Operating Committee identified a real need to focus on the long term resourcing challenges and was seeking out a solution to develop its leaders of the future.
As far as the committee was concerned an apprenticeship scheme would provide a solution to these issues.
Apprenticeships could help the business tap into a recruitment pool with future potential that could be developed and moulded using the Unipart Way – company techniques and tools developed to ensure the smooth running of the business.
Apprentices would be recruited alongside the business’ other ’emerging talent’ recruitment activities (including graduate and student placement schemes), to develop its future management teams.
The apprenticeship scheme is a four year programme with the first two years spent immersed in three different areas of the business – warehousing & distribution, business & administration, and customer services.
While carrying out placements individuals complete a Level 2 National Vocational Qualification in each of these areas.
At the end of the two years, apprentices are asked to specialise in a specific area of the business and will undertake a Level 3 NVQ to support the chosen discipline.
Unipart Logistics sees apprenticeships as an integral part of developing its workforce.
The company currently has 17 apprentices across three of its sites – with the hope that they will become future leaders of the business.
The retention rate for apprentices has significantly improved from 50 per cent since Unipart’s first year of recruiting to a current level of 99 per cent. The absenteeism rate for apprentices is less than two per cent compared to five per cent across company. The scheme has the buy-in from both employees and managers at each of its sites.
Managers now understand these apprenticeships will help to deliver the leaders of the future, initially in junior management, where there is potentially a shortage.
Five of its apprentices are now in their final year of the scheme.
They are all on target to meet their career aspirations and are working towards a certificate in their chosen placement (eg Certificate in Personnel Practice, Certificate in Marketing, ILM in First Line Management, AAT).
Peter Rose, human resources manager at Unipart Logistics, says: “The Apprenticeship scheme provides us with a great opportunity to help us tap into a market to recruit, develop and mould our leaders of the future.”
Skills for Life boost for DHL Aviation
DHL Aviation is constantly looking for ways to improve its offering to its customers by finding new ways of being competitive. The senior management team began looking at a number of areas to help improve business performance including: productivity, absence, promotion & continuous professional development.
To help attract, retain and train employees it was identified that improved levels of literacy and numeracy (Skills for Life) would be beneficial in all these areas, and DHL Aviation decided that the best approach for the business would be to integrate key skills into the workplace.
They came up with a strategy to implement basic skills across the organisation which covers English and Maths. The numeracy and literacy requirements of all job roles were identified and mapped to the relevant areas of the adult education curriculum. This process helped to highlight exactly what skills were required for each role and enabled tailored training plans to be developed for each employee.
The training was then delivered through a combination of on and off-site facilities with employers given paid time off to learn, and supported by a network of Workplace learning champions.
The accident rate among learners is 50 per cent lower than the company average. Employee turnover has fallen significantly. It is now at 4.47 per cent – a 68 per cent year on year reduction.
The absenteeism rate among learners is 0.86 per cent, the company average is 5.3 per cent representing an annual saving of £120,000. Employees are more satisfied working for DHL – a recent employee survey resulted in 109 per cent increase in satisfaction.
Since the launch of the basic skills programme productivity has increased by 12 per cent.
Colin Butler, human resources director at DHL Aviation, says: “Skills for Life has enabled our organisation to benefit from improved staff morale, a more efficient workforce and ultimately an increase to the business’ bottom line. Everyone is a winner.”