Paul Bratianu has worked at Wigan-based pillow, mattress topper and duvet manufacturing company, Snuggledown, for six years as a machine operator.

With ambitions to progress in the business and improve his skills, Paul accessed new training offered to the workforce through the Greater Manchester Skills for Growth programme. 

The fully-funded training focuses specifically on LEAN manufacturing techniques and technical skills such as mapping production processes, problem solving and making workplaces more efficient.

Though he was originally unsure about whether the training would be worthwhile, Paul is now an advocate for the course across the business.

He said: “At first, I was sceptical and I thought the learning was outdated but I was looking at ways to improve my skills so I decided to volunteer.

“I now know what my value is and how to use my potential to benefit myself and the factory.

“I’m encouraging my peers to take part too because it will only help us with career progression.

“I’m interested in how this job can help me grow professionally and I think this course will ensure I’m competent.”

Despite only having just enrolled onto the course, the business is already seeing benefits and Production Change Manager, Tony Bravender, is now encouraging businesses across all industries to make the most of the bespoke and varied learning opportunities the programme offers.

Tony said: “To access fully funded training is a God send. I know not a lot of manufacturing businesses have a large training budget, so this programme has definitely gone a long way to helping us support our employees.

“Not only will our collective learning help us to increase productivity, improve machine liability and build on our health and safety procedures but it demonstrates a commitment to staff, therefore encouraging retention and ensures our employees remain engaged with the company.”

Skills for Growth is a three-year programme funded through the European Social Fund, which has been developed to build a collaborative relationship between employers and the Greater Manchester skills system.

In January, Instep UK was awarded a £1.2m contract by GMCA to deliver LEAN Manufacturing and Management training to businesses and individuals working within the manufacturing industry across the city-region.

Tony added: “Instep has been really flexible with Snuggledown. We’ve thrown them challenges regarding when the training can be delivered to ensure learning aligned with our shifts. We also had to amend some sessions at short notice, but they have been really accommodating.”

The Skills for Growth programme is supporting businesses across a variety of priority sectors and already has opportunities live in the digital, construction, low carbon and health and social care industries. Click here to find out more.