Welcome to day four of National Apprenticeship Week. Today we hear from our Continuous Improvement Team about how Apprenticeships provide an opportunity to learn a new way of working and improving the business.
At Certas Energy, we approach Continuous Improvement mostly through the Lean framework which provides a structure for understanding and solving business problems. Some Continuous Improvement initiatives will have significant, identifiable financial returns and others will simply make work a bit easier for our colleagues. Both types of improvement are equally important.
To become a truly Lean organisation, small-scale, local improvements are just as important as large, central initiatives, and we need to provide ongoing training to our Operations team to help us realise that. Apprenticeships provide us with the perfect platform to be able to do this.
In 2021 we created the ‘Continuous Improvement Development Academy’ (CIDA). The CIDA provides a pathway for high-performing front-line managers to learn about Lean methodology by undertaking the Improvement technician Apprenticeship. This will support our business in our Lean Operations journey. This enables managers already working for Certas Energy to gain an apprenticeship, learn a new skill within the organisation and progress their careers.
So far, all of the candidates have had a training day with an external Lean expert and an internal training session that puts theory into context at Certas Energy. The next training day is booked for February.
Ongoing training, both external and internal, will run throughout 2022 before the apprentices undertake their final end-point assessment (EPA) later this year. Alongside tuition, each candidate has to demonstrate their learning by running a Lean improvement project within their region which they define and deliver themselves with support from internal Lean practitioners. At the end of the apprenticeship, all successful candidates will earn a L3 apprenticeship in Continuous Improvement as well as a Yellow Belt in Lean Six Sigma.
In March, we will be launching the Continuous Improvement Network. This is a new employee resource group to connect our apprentices with the full-time Continuous Improvement professionals already in Certas Energy so that we can share best practise and identify improvement opportunities together. Eventually, we hope to expand this network to include people from across DCC Oil & Retail.
Through training, practical experience, and networking, the continuous improvement apprentices will become the Lean experts for their teams and can support regional management with solving business problems across the company.
In addition, Emma, joined us specifically to complete her Level 4 Improvement practitioner Apprenticeship.
Hear from Apprentice Emma on her experience:
Before joining Certas Energy, I was studying A-level English and BTEC in Business at college, as well as working at Argos part time.
I chose to apply for an apprenticeship as I prefer a more hands on learning approach and more active learning which suits me best. I also consider it valuable to gain experience whilst getting a qualification at the same time, something which many university courses didn’t offer me.
Before Covid-19, I’d undertaken work experience in a variety of professional work environments and found it very enjoyable.
I was attracted to applying for the apprenticeship at Certas Energy for a number of reasons.
When I completed my BTEC course in Business, my favourite module was project management. When I read the job specification for this role, many of the tasks I would undertake really fascinated me, as well as Certas Energy having an excellent reputation as a Company and an employer.
Since starting the role, I have undertaken my apprenticeship project participating in different tutorials, as well as travelling to visit many of the sites and teams. In my day-to-day role I’ve been assigned tasks that the rest of the team complete as well, allowing me to work along side them, have my own responsibilities and have real-life work experience.
Thanks Emma for your time and telling us about your experiences. To Emma and all the apprentices involved – we wish you the very best of luck and look forward to hearing more about your journey as you progress.