Employees at a West Yorkshire factory have flourished after completing a new short course delivered by Barnsley College.

The college has been working with Speedibake Bakery, based in Bradford, and Skillspoint to support employees who felt anxious with their English language skills, focusing on technical language, such as important terms dealing with health and safety, quality and factory briefings. 

The Read, Speak, Spell programme is an eight week course ran by Barnsley College, which develops reading, writing and speaking skills for those whose first language may not be English. It also builds confidence so that employees feel they can break language barriers easily and engage with other members of staff, managers and visitors.

Sue Sykes, the Head of Warehousing, Logistics and Workforce Development at Barnsley College, said: “It’s important that our courses suit the needs of both the employer and the learners. The learners have done exceptionally well, thanks to the flexibility of the course and the tutor. It’s been fantastic to see these individuals grow and develop the confidence to show their skills.”

The success of the course has been shown by the 100% attendance and willingness of those involved, with students rearranging shifts or attending classes despite it being their day off.  Students have praised the help they received from dedicated tutors and teaching assistants, such as Speedibake employee, Ravinder Singh, who supported college tutors to break down language and cultural barriers so the student’s experience was as positive as possible.

Christian Pedersen, HR Manager at Speedibake Bradford, said: “Both groups have come such a long way since starting the course. At their final assessment, a presentation based on how they were able to communicate their work at Speedibake, the management team was amazed, and listening to them you could see their passion behind being part of the team along with their ability to be given a chance to learn and develop. 

“As you can imagine presenting to a group of people can be intimidating at the best of times, especially if English is not your first language, but they were so calm and confident. We were even able to have a constructive conversation regarding the merits of the recent 20/20 cricket competition.”

For more information about the short courses on offer, contact Barnsley College’s Work Based Learning Team on +44 (0)1226 216 166 or email employer@barnsley.ac.uk

Last updated: 11th January 2016

Originally posted on: 11th January 2016