Bakers union has recipe for success at Pennine Foods

Pennine Foods in Sheffield has been working with the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) to support English learners – and the joint working is proving a recipe for success with 27 learner completions recently.

learners with Paul Howell General Manager of Pennine Foods and Ronnie Draper BFAWU General Secretary. 

To recognise all the hard work learners put in the union and the company, which is part of the 2 Sisters Food Group, held two celebration days where the learners were awarded their certificates. 

The success of this site comes from the support from BFAWU reps, Chesterfield College and the company management. The union said that the support for release from the company has been outstanding and the learners are given a 100% paid release to attend classes. 

The event was attended by Ronnie Draper, BFAWU General Secretary, Ian Hodson, BFAWU National President and Paul Howell, General Manager at Pennine Foods. 

Ronnie said that he: 

Enjoyed a great day at Pennine Foods presenting certificates of achievement to all the learners. You can cut the enthusiasm of learners, ULR’s, provider, the company representatives and union officials with a knife. So proud of you all, what you have achieved and the collective benefits you will bring too many in the future. Thank you all” 

Ian added that: 

It was a pleasure to attend and meet some of the learners. Learning is something that never stops whether the learning is for work or for personal development and completion of any form of learning is an achievement that enhances our lives.”

The opportunities that so many are now talking up in many cases is due to the development of trained learning representatives, enabling people to access learning to improve their lives is an incredible gift that one person can give to another and that’s what our learning representatives are doing at Pennine and across the country.”

Attending these classes has had an effect on everyone in some way, one gentleman in particular the classes has helped him dramatically at work. 

Thirumeni Thambirasan, also known as John Cena, by his work friends moved over to England from Sri Lanka. 

His first job in England was here at Pennine Foods working as an operative within the chilled department. He has always been extremely hard working found communicating in English a bit of a struggle. 

BFAWU Project Worker Lisa Greenwood said: 

At Pennine we offer the opportunity to attend English classes which are provided on site. His supervisor encouraged him to join and he approached me for advice.”

Now he has achieved a qualification he is now more confident using the English Language and now he is responsible for his own area and is confident enough to train new team members and using our online computer system Sap.”

Because of how much he has progressed he is now a stand in team leader which greater responsibility. This shows the hard work and commitment he has put in to attending class and achieving a qualification in English.

Lisa added that: 

He really appreciates the opportunity at Pennine Foods for supporting his learning with our union learning services. His supervisor is extremely proud of how far he’s come on his learning journey, he’s a real success and we look forward to helping him achieve his next qualification.”

Rachel Vine Lead ULR at Pennine Foods said this wasn't the end: 

Learning hasn’t stopped there. In mid November the next group of learners will start with two classes a day. This again is fully supported by the company and a massive thank you to them as this shows the company is investing in their staff.”