Bespoke training leads to personal growth at HEB Construction

HEB Construction worked with training provider Upskills to successfully increase staff literacy, numeracy and communication skills.

Upskills consultancy developed a tailored training course for HEB Construction (HEB) employees to help solve literacy and numeracy issues in the workplace.

“Along with meeting the required outcomes, an additional result was that teamwork and communication among staff members increased phenomenally,” says Lesley Southwick, HEB learning and development manager.

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) provided funding for the course.

Getting funding

HEB Construction is a construction and infrastructure company with over 1,000 staff. They design and build infrastructure projects across New Zealand.

Communications training provider Upskills were asked to develop an employer-led workplace literacy and numeracy programme by HEB’s learning and development manager.

Upskills analysed HEB’s requirements and obtained funding for the course through the TEC’s Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Fund for employers.

Designing the training

Upskills worked with HEB management to develop an action plan and prepare a training course. HEB wanted training for staff members who had learning difficulties or needed extra help with communication. Staff were surveyed and their abilities assessed.

The training was designed to deliver the following outcomes for staff:

  • better understanding of health and safety guidelines
  • increased opportunities for apprenticeships in trades and concrete construction
  • more confidence and success in their jobs and training.

Delivering the training

Upskills delivered the bespoke Safer People Communication course to 60 staff members in HEB branches across the country. Tutors worked with small groups organised by literacy levels determined by the TEC literacy and numeracy adult assessment tool.

Each staff member had one-on-one conversations with tutors to develop their individual learning plans.

Group sessions focused on personal career goals and values discussions along with team building exercises. The delivery of the training involved work-related problem solving exercises where team members interacted with each other and the tutor.

Positive impacts of the training

By improving literacy, numeracy and communication skills in the workplace, HEB have seen a positive growth in staff confidence, apprenticeship participation and achievement, and an increase in teamwork and communication.

“Better comprehension of health and safety documents makes the workplace a safer place for all employees. The measuring and speaking skills learned will allow these staff to pass on knowledge and skills to others in their teams,” says Lesley.

Upskills director Holly Patterson says Safer People has had real impact in different parts of the business. “The managers have been blown away by the innovation from these men and the empowerment that it’s meant for them,” says Holly. “Participants have grown in their confidence to put forward ideas and put themselves out there.”

More staff are taking up apprenticeship training via industry training organisation Connexis, assisted by the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF).

The course exceeded expectations and definitely increased staff confidence and ability in the workplace.

Where to next?

HEB are planning refresher courses for ongoing staff support and team building. Staff members who need additional support are encouraged to use resources such as Pathways Awarua, which supports adult learners to improve their literacy and numeracy skills.

About Skills Highway

Skills Highway is an opportunity for employers to work with learning providers to provide bespoke training courses for their employees that address literacy and numeracy issues in the workforce.

HEB were highly commended in the Innovation category of the 2019 Skills Highway Champion Awards and were a finalist in the Skills Highway category at the 2020 Diversity Awards.

Visit the Skills Highway website to see if a workplace literacy and numeracy course could benefit your business.

Find out more