Dennis Eagle
Dennis Eagle

Dennis Eagle

Functional Skills (English and Maths) – Additional Support

At Dennis Eagle we have utilised the services of LEAD Limited since 2013 for our employee Lean training, this has been via the delivery of the BIT Level 2 qualification and includes mandatory functional skills.

We have now reached Cohort 6, which means in real terms to date; we have successfully trained and qualified 125 employees with a further 17 employees currently on the project phase of their training schedule right now.

This training has been undertaken with employees from both Warwick and Blackpool sites, across all departments, and at all levels within the business. This has had a positive impact, enabling us to mix each group with both office and shop floor based employees, all coming together in a common training environment on each day they meet as a group. This in turn has led to a greater understanding by everyone, regarding everyone else’s role within the business, which has served to bring our employees closer together and break down departmental barriers.

The vast majority of employees have been from our Warwick site and this is where we found that we needed additional support with 6 of our employees, with only 1 of those failing to complete all of the Functional Skills exams by the end of the course.

Within those 6 employees we also identified 2 who had special needs in the form of Dyslexia. This was identified very early on, in fact it was at the course assessment and enrolment stage, whereby both employees wanted to enrol on the course but were very concerned that they would not be able to complete the English and Maths exams.

These two employees firstly spoke with the assessor, who sat down with them to address the fears and explained what LEAD could offer them in terms of support with the maths and English Functional Skills.

Once enrolled both employees were given appointments to conduct further assessment with the Lead Functional Skills Manager (FSM), Helen Aymes, where individual needs were discussed and further support arranged. The FSM met with each employee at Dennis Eagle on numerous occasions (pre-determined and agreed plan) to assist in their Functional Skills development in readiness for the eventual exams.

Feedback received from these employees was very positive and they all felt more confident going into an exam situation having had these additional help sessions. Feedback was always given from the FSM as to how each employee had performed and progressed within each session.

The other four employees, although not requiring specialist support, were struggling with the English and maths and were also given additional support via the FSM within further separate sessions. Again this was planned out with the employees and their managers in advance. This also ended on a positive high with 3 of them succeeding in passing the final exams; the remaining employee along with guidance from his manager decided on no further re-takes of exams, which was more of a personal nature more than anything.

Overall the quality of input from the FSM which focused on both special needs and non-special needs was very good, and certainly very positively received by the employees who appeared to grow more confidence as each session progressed. Finally leading to the exams, which speak for themselves in terms of the results and achievements, which would undoubtedly have had a differing outcome if the FSM support was not available. Where support was given for the few exam re-takes experienced within some groups, the persistent and patient nature of the FSM proved invaluable towards overall achievement.

When it came to certificate presentation, it was noticeable with some employees that there was a sense of pride in their achievements, especially with those who genuinely struggled and finally made it through. Not forgetting those who completed level 1 quite comfortably and rose to the challenge, volunteering to progress onto level 2 Functional Skills, by this time it was being seen as a special challenge!

Carl Fawson
Continuous Improvement Manager