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Case Study: ETPs Curry Favour at Indian Foods Company


Workers at the UK's leading Indian cuisine specialist, East End Foods, have gained nationally recognised English language qualifications through Employer Training Pilots (ETP).

A total of 161 learners at the West Bromwich-based company improved their written and spoken English skills with specialist tuition from Birmingham training provider GB Training as part of train2gain, a Government-funded initiative to provide free training in essential business skills.

Train2gain is one of 18 ETPs co-ordinated in selected areas throughout England by local Learning and Skills Councils (LSC). Running in Birmingham and Solihull since late 2002, train2gain was extended throughout the Black Country in September 2004.

East End Foods human resources manager Ruchi Sharma said that the training had been invaluable to the business and its employees.

"We employ 250 people across three sites and no fewer than 161 of them have received training, not just in English, but also in other important workplace issues like manual handling and health and safety," she said.

"There's a real sense of pride among those who took part, some of whom may never have done any formal study or, because of their age, were unlikely to have an opportunity to do so.

"Not only that but the evidence of our commitment to quality and staff development that train2gain has given us has recently enabled us to gain an important European food hygiene standard.

"train2gain has given us a great opportunity to adapt and grow as a business and to demonstrate how training your staff measurably adds value and improves efficiency."

East End Foods' train2gain programme was co-ordinated by GB Training's Satty Hayer, who provided English tuition for speakers of Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati and Hindi.

Satty said that she had found the employees eager to learn.

"Because a large proportion of the workforce are from Asian backgrounds, they don't get as much practice in speaking English as they need. In some cases, it was the first formal learning they've done and they couldn't write their names; for others, it was a question of boosting their confidence to make more of under-used language skills," she said.

"I deliberately related the teaching to real-life scenarios, for example filling out your details on an application form, so that it was immediately relevant.

"train2gain has the flexibility to deliver training in the specific skills that are needed by each individual business so in this case, there was a lot of English language tuition as well as issues like manual handling and health and safety. But, whatever the particular need, most organisations could benefit from the funded training offered through train2gain."

Sarah King, train2gain co-ordinator for Birmingham and Solihull Learning and Skills Council, said: "East End Foods are a great example of the success of train2gain.

"A lot of people that work in organisations with a large proportion of employees from minority ethnic backgrounds do not have enough opportunities in or out of work to develop their English-speaking skills.

"By providing specialist training in the workplace, we are directly addressing that need in a way which is beneficial to the business and the individual alike with real benefits in terms of skill levels and morale."

* Further information on Employer Training Pilots go to the ETP website.


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