Workplace inspires training

25th August 2006 at 01:00
For thousands of teenagers the anxious wait for exam results is over, but 18-year-old Simon Allison avoided all of that, by landing qualifications without setting foot in a classroom.

The teenager, who has Asperger's Syndrome, left school without any qualifications and took a job at the Young's Bluecrest factory in Grimsby, which packs and distributes the company's frozen-fish products.

Now, thanks to a programme run by Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education, he has earned level 2 NVQs (CGCE-equivalent) in food and drink manufacturing.

Simon said: "I'm proud to have this qualification. It worked better for me than other courses as there are no exams, and it's made me more confident at work now. It also proves to my employer that I'm confident in my work and having the qualification has opened up opportunities for me within the company which I wouldn't otherwise have had."

Young's encourages all their factory staff to gain the NVQs, which are assessed through the skills demonstrated in everyday work, and offers pay increases for successful candidates as an incentive.

After completing the workforce development programme, Simon is now planning to take further courses at the college in Grimsby, focusing on manufacturing and management. He said: "I just got interested in the industry and I'd like to go higher up in Young's in the future."

Karen Simpson, an NVQ assessor, said allowing people to pick up qualifications through their daily work inspired many people who previously had no enthusiasm for education and training. She said: "When they get the certificate, they say, 'Wow, did I do that?' These are often people who are 40 or 50 and it's the first certificate they've ever been awarded.

"Simon has been a fantastic student. Sometimes he would ring me up in the middle of the week and ask if there was anything else I wanted him to learn. He's very eager and he's been looking at the institute's brochure to see what he can do next."

She said the course offered people with special needs an alternative to traditional classroom learning and gave them a qualification recognised by any employer.

It also helps companies like Young's boost their standing with their customers, who know that all their staff are trained in health and safety and food hygiene, she said.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today