L&D at Work

This week I was asked to prepare a presentation to explain:

  • What we do, our structure and values.
  • Our external market and sector.
  • The commercial context, drivers and process behind learning needs and solutions.
  • The various L&D roles
  • My roles and responsibilities within the L&D structure and how this impacts on our organisation.

What is L&D? According to the CIPD, L&D stands for learning and development and is specifically focused on helping people learn new skills so they’re motivated and productive at work. L&D professionals are concerned with getting the best out of their workforce and developing their skills and capabilities to drive business performance.

Me … as the group and team HR have developed:

  • I have moved slightly away from the day to day running of the HR functon
  • I have recently become more involved at a strategic level with training and policy development
  • I have recently completed the Level 3 Delivery in Training Qualification
  • I am currently working through the Level 3 Learning and Development Apprenticeship

This will enable us to deliver accredited training and apprenticeships internally on site. We should be able to deliver:

  • Health & Safety
  • Auditing
  • Leadership
  • Administration
  • Food Safety

Working in collaboration with a training provider, we should also be able to deliver apprenticeships in:

  • Supply Chain & Warehouse
  • Performing Manufacturing Operations
  • Business Improvement Techniques

Who are we?

  • We are one of the largest contract wine bottlers in the UK.
  • We will be the only facility in the UK to package wine in cans by the end of 2019.
  • Sustainability is important to us and we believe every business has a duty of care to minimise its impact on the environment.

The bottles we fill are made from partly recycled glass and through our partners we recycle our waste and surplus packaging materials including plastic, cardboard, label reels, caps and glass.

We pride ourselves on:

  • having a safe and secure working environment
  • having a “right first time” mentality
  • prioritising the physical safety and mental wellbeing of our staff
  • developing our people to be “the next generation of leaders”
  • having the most innovative facility in Europe
  • We are a Contract packer
  • We accept and package wine on behalf of customers from across the world
  • Flat wines and spirits … soon to come is sparkling
  • We can blend flavoured wines and spirits
  • Customers supplying both “off trade” and “on trade” clients.
  • We can pack into glass, PET, Bag In Box of various sizes.

Why package in the UK and not at source?

  • To bottle abroad and ship to the UK would be 32 pallets, 2 containers, reduced life expectancy and as a fragile product, unlikely to survive the journey in full.
  • To ship 24,000 litres in a container to the UK reduces the risk to the product as well as saving on shipping costs and the environmental footprint.
  • Over 15 years, we have grown from a capacity of 3 m litres a year to nearly 3 m litres a week.
  • Over 15 year, we have grown from 5 people to 275.
  • Over the next 2 years, we hope to move from the current 120,000 sq. m site into a new 220,000 sq. m  facility with the capacity to expand its product range and volume to over 400m litres a year.
  • The long term strategy is to be leaner with staffing through enhanced technology – which will place more emphasis on training.
  • During 2018 – 2020 we are strengthening the supervisor and management structure in preparation for the growth plan and move to the new facility.
  • All of the above have led to several people being more involved and focussed on training needs across the site.
  • There is also a customer and consumer focus on the training and development of staff and processes.

Generation Z:  McKinsey and Co. suggests that learning needs over generations has shifted significantly and a new generation of influencers has come to the scene.  Members of Generation Z (loosely, people born from 1995 to 2010) are true digital natives – from the earliest age they have been exposed to the internet, to social networks, and to mobile systems. 

Generation Z are shaped by the context in which they emerged and this generation feels comfortable not having only one way to be itself.  It’s search for authenticity generates greater freedom of expressions and greater openness to understanding different kinds of people.

Their relationship with information is fundamentally different from previous generations. Instead of seeking it out, information is surfaced to them – in an immediate, personal and contextualised form.

Generation Z has different expectations towards entrepreneurship and their careers. Being a generation that values experiences, cares about the environment and is pragmatic about their approach into the workforce.

From an academic standpoint, their learning techniques are adapting as well. Gen Z are adept researchers, aware of how to self-educate their multiple educational interests. 1 out of 3 students watch their lessons online and 32% work with their classmates online.

According to CMO/Adobe research, 79% of Generation Z consumers display symptoms of emotional distress when kept away from their personal electronic devices. Mobile technology is not a phenomenon with this generation – it is an inherent part of their lives. As Boomers, Gen-X, and Millennials are in positions of authority on college campuses, it is important to remember that attitudes, trends, and behaviours considered negative by prior generations may be the complete opposite in this day and age.  

All businesses needs to be considerate of generational differences in learning and be adaptive and flexible in their approach.  The time of classroom training has passed, and todays learners want short e-learning session that they can pick up when they are ready. We have seen this with the new wave of apprentices joining the business. We are looking for more innovative ways of training such as:

  • Videos of tasks
  • Dedicated trainers
  • More access to online training / MOOCS
  • FlipGrid


  • Historically we’ve only recruited apprentices into the Engineering Team.
  • 2018 saw us introduce a Warehouse Academy.
  • This scheme expanded to production apprentices.

We have utilised our Levy payments for apprenticeships in:

  • Supply Chain and Warehouse
  • Performing Manufacturing Operations
  • Learning & Development
  • Human Resource Management
  • Business Administration
  • Customer Service
  • Leadership
  • Mechanical & Electrical Engineering

We are looking to add:

  • Food and Drink Technicians
  • Brewers
  • Management TraininG
  • Business Improvement Techniques

We are currently working alongside and training providers to deliver apprentices, however the long term goal is to support this internally.   My personal feelings is that we will always need an external provider / verifier but should be able to negotiate the costs of the scheme by collaborating skills and resources.

Leadership Training:

Working with an outside provider we are implementing a leadership development programme built around personality profiling and specific management areas such as handling conflict, delegation and performance management.

The motivation behind this has been an increase in staff being promoted to supervisory roles with good technical knowledge but no management experience.

The Group are seeking to develop a programme that addresses the following issues:

 At Supervisor level:

  • Communication skills
  • Delegation
  • Time management
  • Conflict Management
  • Recruitment skills
  • Performance Management

At middle and senior management level:

  • All of the above
  • Increased level of working ‘on’ the business

The programmes is developed for four levels of manager:

  • Level 1: Supervisor
  • Level 2: Junior Manager
  • Level 3: Senior Manager
  • Level 4: Executive

Each is spread over a 12-month period and designed to build on the previous level, delivering a clear progression plan and structured development. By combining both on-line (knowledge building) and facilitated (practical implementation) learning sessions, any manager, at any level, will have access to the full knowledge bank applicable up to, and including, their current seniority level, allowing staff to refresh their skills on an ongoing basis.

The content and structure will be tailored specifically to address the Group’s processes and procedures, ensuring continuity across the group and appropriateness to the organisation.

Delivered internally it is anticipated that we can minimise the ongoing external support and costs as well as being flexible to deliver around business demands.

Finally, evaluation of on-going effectiveness of the program is built in at all levels, utilising Kirkpatrick’s ‘Four Levels of Training Evaluation’.

Based on the work of Robert Katz, this approach focuses not on what good managers are (their innate traits and characteristics), but rather on what they do (the kinds of skills which they exhibit in carrying out their jobs effectively). A manager is one who (a) directs the activities of other persons and (b) undertakes the responsibility for achieving certain objectives through these efforts.

Technical skill – implies an understanding of, and proficiency in, a specific kind of activity, particularly one involving methods, processes, procedures, or techniques.

Human skill – is the manager’s ability to work effectively as a group member and to build cooperative effort within the team he leads.

Conceptual skill – involves the ability to see the enterprise as a whole.

L&D roles and the future of training?

We currently have no formal L&D roles other than a coordinator who tracks on the job training and books any adhoc outside needs. This is a relatively new role that has developed quickly. L&D is a side function under the HR team, as it is in many SME’s.

As a business we are looking at :

  • how quickly we go through change and introduce new machines
  • what is the latest training / technology available
  • how can we plan this in to working days with a lean structure and busy production schedule

I will be working alongside external providers to develop the apprenticeship programmes and developing the Leadership Modules.

We are recruiting a new team of Driver Trainers with a more structured approach and clear training plans.

We have appointed:

  • Training Coordinator – tracking internal line training
  • Continuous Improvement Officer – looking at SOP’s as well as 5s initiatives
  • Apprentices
  • Within production we have technical operators delivering setting skills, however we will be looking to implement dedicated trainers for each section to ensure the training is standardised

In conclusion … training is something that has developed over the years and will continue to grow.  We have recognised that it is key to motivation, retention and improved efficiencies.

However, moving forward there is an obvious need to invest in the current generation of leaders … and the next.

As we head into another year of projected growth and investment in machinery, there needs to be a clear L&D structure driving through the training needed and further investiment / training budgets.

We need to work on:

  • Improved on boarding and induction Leadership Development
  • Management and delivery of the apprenticeship scheme
  • Delivery of Highfield accredited training
  • Apprenticeship recruitment

Personal goals …

  • To see others achieve and grow
  • To continue my personal growth
  • To see L&D and HR at the forefront of the business by proving its value

Any tips and guidance welcome

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