Fife firm invests in skills of workforce

1st October 2015

A Fife engineering firm improved the skills of its workforce after using a business consultancy service offered by Skills Development Scotland and Investors in People.

Glenrothes-based Fife Fabrications (FiFab) made use of the Skills for Growth initiative to identify priorities for development.

The initiative helped the firm, which employs 128 people, find growth potential through providing training in management and leadership and in using Excel spreadsheets.

Director of Sales and Marketing at the firm, John Penman, said: “We wanted to ensure that we were future-proofing the team.

“The dynamics of business is changing so quickly through efficiency and technology that we had to make sure that we were meeting requirements.

“We recently invested more than £250,000 in an enterprise resource planning system which makes far greater use of spreadsheets and data, so people needed to be able to use that effectively,

“Styles of management and leadership have also changed over the years both in terms of the requirements of the job and also how you develop and motivate people, so it was important to work on that with supervisors, team leaders and middle managers.”

Around 50 staff members took part in the training, including Customer Satisfaction Co-ordinator Marlene Joyce.

She said: “The Excel training was split into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels which was ideal as it covered the basics upwards and was very helpful.

“There were even simple tools which I didn’t know were there, and we’ve still got the training to refer back to.

“I’ve been able to apply some of it to my work already and I’ll be doing more of that in the future.

“It’s really useful to have these development opportunities and I’d be keen to do more in the future.”

FiFab is one of the UK's most advanced manufacturers of precision sheet-metalwork, electro-mechanical assemblies and precision machined components.

June Gallagher, Employer Engagement Adviser at Skills Development Scotland (SDS), offered advice and support to the firm during the Skills for Growth programme.

She said: “FiFab have an impressive track record of taking a positive approach to skills planning, from a long-running apprenticeship programme to ongoing workforce development.

“The training which stemmed from the Skills for Growth initiative has brought benefits to both the company and its staff members, and SDS can work with firms of all sizes in this way, ranging from advice on funding to taking on modern apprentices, skills planning and HR support or recruitment.”

The training was co-ordinated by John Phillips, Curriculum Manager for Management, Leadership and Enterprise at Fife College.

He said: “When providing training to firms and other organisations, we recognise that one cap does not fit all, and our strength lies in the ability to design specific programmes that suit the individual needs of a business.

“FiFab were keen on training that could be delivered on-site which helped staff place it within the context of their day-to-day work.”

The Skills for Growth initiative is available to small businesses across Scotland. More information is available on the web service for employers,

John Penman added: “We’ve now got an up-skilled workforce with a greater degree of employer engagement, and a large percentage of our team is using those enhanced skills to improve business outcomes.

“It makes us more cost-effective, which means we can win more work.”

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