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Huge employee training plan unveiled to face economic challenge

JCB is embarking on one of the biggest employee training initiatives in its history as the company gears up to equip its workforce with the skills needed to weather the economic downturn – and take advantage of the opportunities a recovery will bring.

More than 2000 employees from JCB's Midlands' and Wales' factories will take part in the training in the first week of January. JCB's initiative has already won praise from Skills Secretary John Denham, who held up the company as an example of good practice during a debate in the House of Commons. He told MPs that firms which invested in training were more likely to survive the recession and be ready to take advantage of the upturn when it comes.

Today JCB CEO Matthew Taylor said: “JCB has always placed a huge emphasis on training employees but the impact of the economic downturn means this takes on even more significance. We are committed to ensuring our employees are equipped with the right skills not only to deal with the turbulence created by the current economic situation but also to harness the opportunities that will be there for growth when the recovery arrives.”

Among the training being undertaken is a BTEC qualification in Lean Manufacturing, a Chartered Institute of Environmental Health course covering health and safety in the workplace and NVQ Level 2 qualifications in Performing Manufacturing Operations, Business Improvement Technologies and Manufacturing and Operations. JCB supervisory management will also have five days of training in management skills and techniques.

JCB is also delivering a wide range of internally-organised training courses which will cover team leading, fabrication and welding, lean manufacturing and operating efficiently in the workplace. In Wrexham, where JCB has two factories, more than 300 shopfloor employees will undergo training on business improvement skills, reducing inventory and specific tuition on assembly line and machinery use techniques.

Among the organisations JCB is working with to deliver the external training programme is Corporate College at Derby College, which will organise courses for around 700 employees. JCB is also working with colleges in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Walsall and Lichfield and Tamworth and Sunderland to deliver the external training packages.

April Hayhurst, Commercial Director at Corporate College, Derby, said: “JCB have demonstrated an incredibly high level of commitment to their workforce in an extremely difficult economic climate. They have thoroughly committed to up-skilling their workforce to meet future skills needs when the market returns to some normality.”

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