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Brush up on Skills by Hankinson Painting Group Leads to Better Service and Award Recognition
The training efforts of Birkenhead based firm, Hankinson Painting Group who have been trading for 34 years have been recognised in the National Training Awards with a North West Regional Training Award in the Medium Sized Business Category.
Contracts Manager Neil Kershaw explains, “Maintenance painting of steel highway structures can be expensive and can cause major disruption on the highway network, especially when the works are unplanned. The Highways Agency recognised that the cause of many of the premature failures of protective paint coatings on steel structures could be traced back to poor practice in the application of the protective coating system.”
In order to address the problem, the Highways Agency developed the National Highways Sector Scheme. The Scheme became the new benchmark for quality and every Painting Contractor who worked for the Highways Agency, the Welsh Assembly, Transport Scotland and DRD Northern Ireland had to prove they could reach the standard.
It soon became clear to the Roy Hankinson senior management team that the best way to guarantee they would meet the criteria was to train operatives. Already an Investors in People organisation, Roy Hankinson had a track record of training its staff. However this new training scheme was more innovative than any they’d undertaken before and they faced the challenge of convincing the new and existing operatives within the Grit Blasting and Protective Coatings Division of its necessity.
Neil Kershaw reveals, “Previously no recognised proof of competency was needed. And now authorities were making it mandatory. Initially there was a resistance from the operatives to the idea of training. Some have worked within this area for twenty years and the new Scheme and requirement of training implied they had a skills deficit.”
To win over the hearts and minds of the operatives, Roy Hankinson Ltd trained their Contracts Manager, Neil Kershaw to deliver the training. Neil worked with Correx Ltd, developers of the now mandatory industry training scheme, the Industrial Coating Applicator Training and Certification Scheme (ICATS). Together Correx and Roy Hankinson devised an in-house training programme that would stimulate participants and build on their experience.
The six-part industrial training applicator programme only took 40 hours and operatives were given one year in which to complete it. The course was a mixture of practice and theory, on and off site. Trainers would visit participants as they worked to assess their understanding of what they learnt. And at the office, participants would be taken through their paces by a trainer or with the help of one of the videos available. At the end of the course, participants were required to undertake written exams and tests. The training cost the firm £750 per person. So was it worth it?
“Yes” says Neil Kershaw. “All our operatives have undergone the training and received 100 per cent accreditation. We were audited by the ICATS Scheme’s Auditors, Lloyds and they remarked on the effectiveness of the workplace training and the understanding we had as a company regarding the different learning requirements of individual operatives.”
And it’s not just the auditors that were impressed. Since implementing the training scheme, Roy Hankinson Ltd has continued working for the Highways Agency, has recorded a 10 per cent increase in turnover and increase in profit margins. Furthermore the company became the first contractor in the UK to achieve the National Highways Sector Scheme accreditation. The company has also taken the Skills Pledge, committing themselves to further programmes. What was once their stumbling block and cause of concern has become their success story.
The judges for the award were also impressed and deemed the entry as outstanding within the region. They said “the entry provided a powerful example of focused and relevant training that was meaningful to the participants…
The firm’s Chief Executive, Stephen Hankinson is delighted with his team’s achievements. He adds, “I do believe that we have faced some significant and unique challenges in 2008. The Team has responded magnificently and the fact that we became the first Painting Contractor in the UK to achieve NHSS 19A raised our profile enormously and has given us tremendous opportunity for growth To now be recognised with a National Training Award has been a huge pat on the back for everybody involved.”
Despite the success, Roy Hankinson Ltd is not complacent. Further training modules are being released by ICATS and the company is putting the resources and plans in place to ensure continued compliance.
The National Training Awards are managed by UK Skills on behalf of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and are recognised as the leading training awards in the Country.
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Hankinson Painting Group began in 1975 with Head Office in Birkenhead and subsidiary offices in West Bromwich & nationwide. Services include Commercial Painting & Decorating Blasting & Protective Coatings Hygienic Coatings & Specialist Decorations
Page Updated Last on: Oct 23, 2009