Metro Glass works through challenges to upskill workforce

Metro Glass and Education Unlimited worked together to increase the literacy, leadership and digital skills of their staff despite many challenges.

Metro Glass has increased its focus on training and upskilling its workforce over the past few years.

The company has more than 80 current apprentices and has put close to 200 staff through training programmes. This includes 70 staff who have increased their leadership and digital skills through the Brighter Minds programme.

The Brighter Minds programme was partly funded by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) through the Employer-led Workplace Literacy and Numeracy (EWLN) Fund.

Strong interest in training

When Metro Glass offered the Brighter Minds training programme to their employees, the response was beyond what they had expected.

“It just took off. We expected 10 to 15 and got 70 staff signing up,” says Human Resources Director Dayna Roberts.

Employees appreciated the opportunity to increase their skills and get nationally recognised qualifications through a training course designed especially for them.

Training designed for employees

Employee feedback drove important changes to the training programme, including a focus on achieving formal certification. Trainees studied towards a New Zealand Certificate in Business (Level 3) with the Introduction to Team Leadership strand.

Staff gained leadership skills that will help them work in management roles in the future. Training more staff for these roles means Metro Glass can make succession plans for their business.

Overcoming challenges

Initially, Metro Glass and Education Unlimited weren’t sure of the best approach to deliver the new training programme to employees working at 16 different sites across New Zealand.

Then they were forced to put their plans on hold before they could start delivering the programme.

Metro Glass had to reduce their business activity in response to the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020. Uncertain about how long that would last, they worked with Education Unlimited to find a way to deliver the training programme remotely.

Going online

Metro Glass decided to train their staff online using Microsoft Teams. Unfortunately, not all staff had the devices, authentication or training to access online classes.

The company bought staff new laptops with funding support from the TEC’s Technology Access Fund for Learners (TAFL) and set the learners up with accounts.