Peterlee company helps national wine bottling firm with training

A Peterlee training company is working with a national wine bottling company to develop its workforce.

GEM Training, based on the North West Industrial Estate, is delivering an innovative apprenticeship course for the Stanley-based business.

Greencroft Bottling Company has developed the programme designed to train local 16-18 year olds with warehouse skills.

A spokeswoman for GEM said: “This is the perfect example of how we’re working with regional businesses on their bespoke training needs, and helping young people develop the skills that employers are looking for.”

Greencroft is one of the UK’s largest contract wine bottling facilities and works with some of the world’s leading wine companies. As part of its ongoing commitment to training apprentices, the company has developed a pioneering Fork Lift Truck (FLT) training course open to local 16-18 year olds who are either school leavers or attending college.

As well as providing opportunities for local teens, it also ensures the business is able to employ these highly skilled new staff during a period of expansion while utilising the Apprenticeship Levy funds for their training.

The year-long course sees three cohorts per intake trained on newly purchased Toyota Counterbalance and Reach FLT, both of which are used across warehousing at Greencroft Bottling and the wider Lanchester group of companies including Lanchester Wines and Lanchester Gifts. The students will undertake training and mentoring on essential subjects including health and safety, utilising Manual Handling Equipment and, importantly, transferrable skills such as behavioural expectations of the work place.

A dedicated training area has been developed on site featuring a realistic warehouse environment complete with racking, a classroom and a breakout area. At the end of the course, students will receive an NVQ Level II Supply Chain Warehouse Operative with hopefully all being offered permanent roles across the group of businesses at the end of the 12 months course.

Launched in March of this year, the course has now welcomed its second cohort, as the first group move into the warehouse and bottling facility to work on live environments. Here they’ll join the company’s other apprentices who presently work across engineering and HR.

The course was jointly developed by Greencroft Bottling’s HR Manager, Stephanie Hodgson and Driver Trainer, Matthew Walton. Due to the restrictions with on what and how the Levy can be used Stephanie and Matthew’s training, project material and training equipment is privately funded by Greencroft Bottling and Lanchester Wines, and is supported by GEM Training who is providing the qualification. The long term aim is for Stephanie and Matthew to become NVQ assessors making the course fully sustainable and one which can be offered to other companies.