Colleagues from the Stoke on Trent distribution centre of a national pet retailer are celebrating after completing new qualifications aimed at helping them gain new skills and contribute new ideas to the business.
More than 30 colleagues from Pets at Home have successfully completing Diploma in Business Improvement Techniques after the retailer teamed up with Stoke on Trent College to deliver on-the-job training in a bid to help encourage ideas to grow and develop the company.
It is the first time Pets at Home, recently named Best Big Company to work for by the Sunday Times, have offered a Level 2 and 3 apprenticeship course in Business Improvement Techniques to colleagues.
Ryan Cheyne, People Director at Pets a Home, said: “We have been running qualifications for our colleagues for some time, but this has been the first year we have been able to offer apprenticeships in Business Improvement and Warehouse techniques.
“The number of people putting themselves forward for apprenticeship opportunities is gaining momentum and from the first year intake has gone up and the range of topics is getting broader and broader.
“Providing this training increases the skills and knowledge of the individuals working for Pets at Home and helps them become more confident in their roles. They are able to put their newly found knowledge into action and gain additional skills for their future which we hope will be with Pets at Home.
“People like being invested in and we are now looking at how we can deliver this success across a wider area.”
A handful of colleagues have also gained Level 2 diploma qualifications in Warehousing and Storage, a course that Stoke on Trent College have been working with Pets at Home to deliver for several years.
Ray DiStefano, Trainer Assessor from Stoke on Trent College who delivered the training, said: “Pets at Home are passionate about giving individuals the opportunity to improve their academic and work-based background. They are leading pioneers in demonstrating the benefits of investing in your workforce.
“We started this latest course in July 2013 with 31 candidates from the company who were really keen to gain additional qualifications. Not only did the management at Pets at Home make the opportunity available to all their colleagues, they ensured they were able to attend classes during the day, or at night, depending on the needs of the individual which was fantastic.
“Stoke on Trent College has been working in partnership with Pets at Home for some years now and with great success. We are soon hoping to enrol more students for the next academic year.”
Terry Siddle, Head of Distribution at Pets at Home, added: “As a management team we are very proud of our colleagues’ achievements. Moving forwards we are again broadening the courses available to include a certificate in logistics and a team leading qualification too.
“Pets at Home distribution is also set to launch a new programme that will offer everyone a clear pathway to what they wish to achieve within the company. Apprenticeships will play an integral part of this new programme with new and exciting aspects to support the development of our colleagues even further.”