TDK-Lambda, one of the world's leading power supply manufacturers, is opening a new Skills Centre at its European Headquarters in Ilfracombe. The £25,000 facility is part of TDK-Lambda's ongoing commitment to the training of new recruits and up-skilling its employees to progress their career as far as they wish.
TDK-Lambda's Training Officer Jane Worley, who has been with the company for 30 years, says: "TDK-Lambda is a truly learning organisation. Our annual investment in skills training has grown to £94,000; the previous Skills Centre had outgrown itself and needed refurbishment. We grabbed this opportunity to create a larger, more modern Skills Centre – a focused learning environment where individuals have access to all the tools and resources they need."
Since organisational success depends upon having the right people, an effective recruitment strategy that is integrated into the business strategy is essential. Worley explains: "The new Skills Centre enables us to provide a more structured induction programme, a well-equipped facility where new recruits can learn and develop their ICT skills, practise basic production techniques and become familiar with company procedures. On a new intake, we can now train up to four people concurrently and to an even higher standard."
In order to perform any manual operation both safely and competently, such as hand soldering or ATE testing, TDK-Lambda has developed a Skills Licence system. For a given process area, such as power supply configuration or printed circuit board assembly, a range of applicable Skills Licences is necessary. Worley says: "Some of these skills can be practised away from the production areas at workstations within the Skills Centre, which can now be monitored more effectively and reviewed formally."
Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular option for people within the company, and TDK-Lambda has successfully increased the number of places available to six adult apprentices on a three-year rolling programme. Working closely with Group Training and Development and the local colleges, TDK-Lambda also offers real opportunities for school leavers to gain the experience and skills they need to progress within the company or to work towards a degree qualification. Worley adds: "The ICT facilities in the Skills Centre provide access to distance learning alongside ICT literacy courses such as MS Office and touch typing, as well specialist subjects - for instance, Financial Literacy (IFLC Level One), Health and Safety and Fire Safety."
In addition, the company has forged a knowledge transfer partnership for its Manufacturing Engineering Department (MED) with South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS). Worley says: "Four members of MED have recently be awarded green belt status in Six Sigma, all of whom used the Skills Centre equipment to carry out self-study work. These new green belt holders add to the 40-plus individuals in the company who have been awarded green or black belts previously."
Already the facilities in the new Skills Centre are having a positive effect at TDK-Lambda. Worley comments: "It is a place away from the hustle and bustle of our everyday working life where we can focus on brushing up on and learning new skills, whether working in the production areas or at management level. In terms of return on investment, significant cost- and time-saving benefits across the whole of the company have been recorded and, more importantly, these can be passed on to our customers."