South Yorkshire firm organises training for staff during lockdown - including 26 on furlough

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A Barnsley surveying company is taking advantage of free online training for all staff, including 26 on furlough.

1st Horizon is using The Source Skills Academy to boost workers’ skills during lockdown. For many SMEs, training can be entirely funded by the SCR Skills Bank or the Skills Support for the Workforce pot.

1st Horizon’s HR manager, Sophia Massarella, said: “When we heard we could get free training for staff during lockdown, it made perfect sense. CPD has always been really important to us. Many of our staff are young and came to us fresh from college.

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“They are very committed to learning and we feel a responsibility to keep them engaged at this difficult time, especially those who are furloughed. The anticipation of not knowing when you’re going back to work can be very unsettling."

1st Horizon MD Jim Garside.1st Horizon MD Jim Garside.
1st Horizon MD Jim Garside.

Based at The Old Pop Factory on High Street in Dodworth,1st Horizon was founded in 2006 by surveyor Jim Garside. It works with construction and petrochemical industries, carrying out land surveys for gas pipelines and large-scale civil projects. Today it specialises in 3D laser scanning, CCTV surveys, drone surveys and mobile mapping.

The company was growing when Covid-19 hit the UK and put a recruitment drive on ice.

Sophia, who with three colleagues signed up to study business improvement techniques, added: “We are looking forward to resuming our recruitment initiative as soon as lockdown restrictions are lifted, and we will be coming out of this with more rounded staff.

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“We have 11 studying for a certificate in team leadership and three working for a qualification in data protection.

Members of the 1st Horizon team at a training seminar pre-lockdown.Members of the 1st Horizon team at a training seminar pre-lockdown.
Members of the 1st Horizon team at a training seminar pre-lockdown.

“Twelve staff are studying ‘Awareness of Mental Health Problems’, which we see as very important to all employers, particularly those with a young and predominantly male workforce.”

Dale Robinson, business development director at The Source, said: “The team at 1st Horizon realised the value of training at this time; it re-enforces self-worth and maintains focus.

“They seized the opportunity and we urge other companies to follow their lead.”

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Furloughed staff can complete their work quickly and study for a second qualification under full funding.

The Source has more than 70 courses, online training materials are accessible seven days-a-week and tutors are available 12 hours-a-day via video conferences and interactive platforms. A team of administrators and support workers are also on hand.

Funding is from the Education and Skills Funding Agency and the European Social Fund. To access fully-funded online training email: [email protected]

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