Learning at Work Week 2018

People who join Johnsons Workwear tend to stay in our business for a number of years and they have always been encouraged to do so. But, it’s not just a case of staying in the business, it’s about developing too.

Mike Hoare joined our plant in Bristol when he was just 16 years old putting sheets through the dryers. Now, as a Supervisor who is well-respected by his team, Mike has recently celebrated 50 years with the company. We’re also celebrating our newly appointed CEO for Johnsons Service Group Plc Peter Egan who started his career 20 years ago as the General Manager of the Johnsons Workwear plant in Brighton.

There’s no better time to put the spotlight on these magic milestones and successes than in Learning at Work Week. The annual event is organised by the Campaign for Learning and aims to put a spotlight on the importance and benefits of learning and development at work. The week promotes an inclusive approach and encourages the extension of opportunities to learn to all employees.

Last year, Michela Deegan joined Johnsons Workwear as the new Learning and Development Manager to develop the culture of learning that already existed in the business. "There are many fantastic examples of people being supported through the company from factory floor to senior management level," says Michela, "something that is often talked about but not often put into practice in many other organisations."

This year’s Learning at Work week takes the theme of ‘Networked for Learning’ and since she joined the company, Michela and the Learning and Development Team have focused on developing and increasing access to training for all staff across the Johnsons Workwear network. Remote learning has been developed so that anyone, no matter what their job role or where they are in the country, can benefit from essential mandatory training, such as Health and Safety, quality standards, induction, and customer service, as well as optional training modules such as the new time management course. All training can be accessed online via the intranet, which is available at their desks for office staff and at computers in canteen areas for laundry staff. This also means that urgent training information can be communicated to all staff in a very short time.

The remote learning and the development of a series of user guides aims to encourage a culture of self-directed learning and continual development. This gives employees some autonomy over the time, pace and place of learning so that they are able to reflect on progress and set goals for more learning.

Since the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced a year ago, Johnsons Workwear has been leading the field and proactively using this to bring new people into the business and supporting people into new roles through apprenticeship training. "We currently have 27 apprentices in a wide variety of roles from HR management through to IT, infrastructure, business administration, customer service and engineering. We want to make the scheme work," explains Michela. "We want to attract new talent and to help people be the best at what they do."

Johnsons Workwear is a company that is proud to identify the fantastic talent it has in the company, nurturing those people through an ongoing investment in learning and development. Line managers and team leaders are currently being supported through the development of the performance review process by an in-house training team. This will support the growth and current and future business goals and objectives of the company.

The company’s Academy is a jewel in the crown of the talent development programme and, while still quite a new concept, it has generated a hugely positive feel. "People who are ambitious have somewhere to develop," says Michela. "It is a place for maximising potential and creates a positive vibe around learning."

"By identifying the needs of the business now and investing in succession planning, we are ensuring that we are an attractive place where people want to work and a resilient business that can give the best possible service to its clients. We truly believe that learning and development add real value to our people and our business. The Academy helps us to prepare for tomorrow’s leaders."