Warehouse workers go back to classroom
Dozens of workers at a closure-threatened warehouse are going back to the classroom following the opening of a learning and IT centre.Twenty-four employees at the Boots distribution centre in Thetford were presented with certificates last week after completing courses aimed at improving their job prospects when the depot closes next year.
Dozens of workers at a closure-threatened warehouse are going back to the classroom following the opening of a learning and IT centre.
Twenty-four employees at the Boots distribution centre in Thetford were presented with certificates last week after completing courses aimed at improving their job prospects when the depot closes next year.
The Way Forward centre was opened at the site's Burrell Way building in January as the company prepared for its eventual closure, which will see the loss of 80 jobs in the town.
Staff received NVQ qualifications in business and administration, warehousing and distribution, literacy and numeracy, as well as basic IT and English for Speakers of Other Languages certificates on Thursday after embracing the opportunity to gain new skills and qualifications.
Workers at the Thetford distribution centre were told two years ago that they were likely to lose their jobs September 2009 as a result
of a new automated warehouse system in Nottingham.
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Paul Quick, implementation co-ordinator at the depot, said that with the first redundancy notices set to be served in March, it was vital that workers gained new skills.
“It was a little difficult at first, but it has really taken off and about 70pc of the workforce are engaged
in some form of qualification.
“It has certainly helped them recognise the fact that we are closing and it has given them the enthusiasm to gain other qualifications and start to look at the jobs and courses they would like to take on,” he said.
General assistant Lynn Meradon, who has worked at the warehouse for 25 years and already gained three NVQs, said the IT and learning centre had got her enthused about further education. “You forget that you can still learn as you get older and that it is not just for young people. I can help with my daughter's homework now,” she said.
Officials from the West Suffolk College at Bury St Edmunds and training provider Anne Clarke Associates have been running the courses at the Boots learning centre.