Training from a north east provider that is giving older staff the opportunity to improve their qualifications and provide a first class service to the public is proving a winning formula for a West Midlands council. Dudley Council approached national training specialist B-Skill, which is headquartered in Newcastle, to deliver the Customer Services Adult Apprenticeship at level 2 to its street cleansing operatives after previous enquiries to other training companies drew a blank.
Although the council has previously provided adult apprenticeships for other departments, this is the first time that frontline workers such as street cleaners have had the chance to improve their customer service skills. The B-Skill training is now equipping staff with the knowledge to represent their employer properly on a daily basis when they respond to members of the public, helping ensure the correct information is provided at all times.
Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, cabinet member for transport, said: “The staff enrolled on the course are more mature and have never completed an apprenticeship before. When they applied, they were told there would be a lot more written work. This, combined with that fact not many have been in a classroom environment for a long time, caused some nerves but since starting the training, feedback from the staff has been positive.”
The course covers communication and how to provide a first class service and feedback for customers. It also focuses on improving the adult apprentices' maths and English skills. Trainees additionally learn about employers' rights and responsibilities.
B-Skill's national client relationship manager, Andrea Aylwin, said: “Customer service training is vital for staff throughout an organisation, whatever their job, but is particularly important for those coming into contact with the public on a daily basis. At B-Skill, we recognise that training schemes don't come in a one size fits all format and we specialise in adapting our approach to suit the requirements of our clients. This Adult Apprenticeship will ensure Dudley's street cleaners are able to communicate confidently and effectively with the public, while improving their own qualifications at the same time.”