TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT

Training and development opportunities for all employees ensure a well motivated workforce capable of delivering an excellent customer service to meet the aspirations of all stakeholders.

Training Manager - In line with 2010's focus on "our people" a corporate training manager was appointed to coordinate all the company's training activities.

Elaine Callaghan continues to focus on ensuring practical on the job training is undertaken on every contract through the Lantra-Awards qualified instructors, as well as co-coordinating Quadron's successful Apprenticeship programme.

During 2011, Elaine also successfully managed the introduction of Quadron's new interactive e-learning system, which has received much positive feedback from staff.

Personal Development Plans - Minimum skills requirements for each post ensure that staff are competent. Each employee has a personal development plan and annual performance review, with training support available to assist them to fulfil their full potential.  Personal review training is given to all managers and supervisors to ensure that they are confident in carrying out reviews with their staff.

Induction training - each employee receives comprehensive induction training. For those not fluent in English this includes practical demonstrations to ensure a full understanding. Induction training also includes an overview of the contract specification and customer care standards required.

Training facilities - we have converted unused nursery, office or messroom space into training rooms.  In Holland Park nursery in Kensington, we have developed a training facility that is now used by staff on the Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham contracts and is shared by both Clients and by Groundwork London. A study area is set aside for staff to keep their portfolios and work towards their qualifications in their free time or during periods of inclement weather.  The area contains reference books and each week new plants are added for the students to learn.

All employees also have access to a PC, often situated in the local depot office or messroom.

In-house training - internal courses include health & safety issues such as manual handling, working at heights (ladders) and HAVs. Additionally, many senior members of staff are trained as NVQ assessors. Our Health & Safety Manager, Steve Plumley, is a CIEH registered trainer and qualified to deliver a variety of health & safety and environmental courses. He manages an ongoing programme to ensure that all managers and supervisors within the company gain the following qualifications:

  • CIEH Health & Safety in the Workplace Levels 2, 3 & 4
  • CIEH Principles of Risk Assessment Levels 2 & 3
  • CIEH Principles of COSHH Level 2.
  • CIEH Environmental Principles and Best Practice Level 2.

All managers and most supervisors are now qualified to Level 2 in the first three and the Level 3 training and Environmental Principles courses are being carried out, with the remaining supervisors and team leaders commencing Level 2.

Emergency First Aid - Health & Safety Manager, Steve Plumley, is qualified through the CIEH to deliver Emergency First Aid training to the standard recognised by the HSE.  He is currently rolling out Emergency First Aid training to staff across the business as part of Quadron's drive to raise Health and Safety awareness and further develop our Health and Safety culture.

E-learning - during 2011 Quadron invested in a new e-learning system from Safety Media.  The web-based system features a number of interactive modules which enables training to be undertaken in "bite-sized" chunks with employees learning and working at their own speed.  Since the system's launch in March 2011, over 8,000 modules have been viewed, approximately ten per employee.

The e-learning system is accessed via Quadron's intranet system and includes elements including Environmental Awareness, Driving Safety, Office Safety and Asbestos Awareness, with more modules in development to cover a wider range of topics.

LANTRA-AWARDS TRAINING

Contract Trainers - 17 Quadron staff (at least one on each contract) are qualified as Lantra Awards Instructors in Groundscare Machinery. with more staff currently working towards this qualification. The training involves a 5 day "Instructional Techniques" course together with two days of Operator Training on Ride-on and Pedestrian mowers and a further four days of Operator Training on strimmers, hand held hedge cutters and backpack blowers combined with Technical Standards training and Technical Evaluations. (See download on the right for further details.)

This training represents a substantial financial investment by Quadron, not only in terms of the initial training costs but also in the ongoing continual training of its workforce in each location to ensure that they are competent to fulfil their roles.

Specialist Training - Quadron makes arrangements for specialist training to be carried out as required, for example to provide operatives with the skills to operate specialist equipment, or to improve their knowledge of clients' systems.  Training carried out in the last year included:

  • PA1/PA6a Pesticide training & NPTC assessments
  • Signing, Lighting & Guarding
  • Detection of Underground Services
  • Cat & Genny
  • Agricultural Machine Maintenance
  • RoSPA Routine Playground Inspection training
  • Merlin POPI PDA training.

Customer Care training - Employees are taught the importance of portraying a good image on behalf of the company and its clients. They are made aware of the impact their working practices might have upon other people, for example the danger of leaving tools lying around or blocking paths or leaving them slippery. They are taught to be approachable, helpful and informative and to communicate effectively with all members of the public.

In addition, since 2011, 152 staff have been trained to CIEH Level 2 in Conflict Resolution and Personal Safety, with an ongoing programme planned to ensure staff know how to react in difficult situations.

Equality & Diversity training - Managers attend an ACAS Equality & Diversity course to enable them to understand their obligations to their workforce and to the general public. All employees receive basic Equality & Diversity training during their induction to ensure they have consideration for all other colleagues and members of the local community.  2011 also saw all Quadron staff receive Dignity at Work training which teaches staff how to treat colleagues, customers and the public with respect and illustrates examples of bullying and how comments and actions can be interpreted differently by people.

Apprenticeships - Quadron is able to provide excellent workplace experience across a range of both horticultural and administrative job roles and has established links with many colleges and training providers. Please see the "Apprentices" page.

Community Training Schemes - Quadron actively participates in a range of working groups and initiatives whose aim is to raise the level of skill and knowledge within the horticultural industry, particularly for disadvantaged groups. An example is the Thrive "Working it Out" intitiative and some joint schemes with Groundwork, a local environmental regeneration charity whose objective is to "build sustainable communities through joint environmental action".

Future Jobs Fund - Quadron has entered into a partnership with Groundwork to provide placement opportunities under the Future Jobs Fund schemes. The FJF clients work a minimum of 25 hours per week and are given the opportunity to train for NVQ 2 in Amenity Horticulture. These do not replace other paid jobs but provide additional services over and above the contract specification, thus providing an enhanced service to local communities. This has enabled long overdue regeneration works to be undertaken in many areas.

Lantra's Women & Work Programme - This programme is targeted at women working in non-traditional occupational areas, including the horticultural industry, to address the gender balance. It is designed to promote leadership, supervisory and management skills as well as technical, specialist and professional skills.

15 of Quadron's female staff have participated in the scheme since 2010. Qualifications they have undertaken include administrative & IT skills, auditing, management & supervisory skills, health & safety and confrontation management.