The recent growth of Deeside-based food manufacturer Dailycer UK has coincided with the company’s successful staff training collaboration with Coleg Cambria.

Four years after signing a partnership agreement with the college, the high quality producer of cereal bars and cereals has, during that period, seen 250 staff undergo training in 11 different vocational qualifications.

The qualifications are based on Proficiency in Food Industry Skills, Food Manufacture, Warehouse and Storage, IT, Business Administration and Engineering.

A fully-supported training room at the business, with 24-hour access, has helped Dailycer retain and develop its highly-skilled workforce.

The company’s commitment to vocational qualifications has now been recognised as it is one of three finalists in the running to become VQ (Vocational Qualification) Employer of the Year at the showpiece awards ceremony on June 9 at St David’s Hotel, Cardiff.

Organised by the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills (DfES), the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) and CollegesWales, the VQ Awards help to showcase individuals and organisations that have raised the standard of the services they offer as a result of vocational qualifications.

The awards, which are part funded by the European Social Fund, are now in their eighth year and coincide with VQ Day – a UK-wide celebration of vocational qualifications for students, teachers, training providers and employers – which is held on June 10.

Dailycer UK’s Human Resources manager Jo Butterworth said: “In 2009, we were faced with a challenging economic climate and we saw vocational qualifications as a tool to encourage staff retention and as an internal promotional tool for line leaders following reorganisation.

“We needed to use vocational qualifications to maintain our desire to be an ‘employer of choice’. We worked with Dailycer trainers and Coleg Cambria to trial the programmes and then celebrated the staff achievements, which lifted morale and self-esteem. This encouraged others to learn new skills and boosted confidence through training.

“We focused on developing our production staff, where the average age is 48, through an advanced food hygiene and food safety qualification. This was seen as essential to enable staff to support the improved product portfolio.

“The opportunity to gain vocational qualifications on site is now seen as a great recruitment tool as the organisation grows.”

New business opportunities are expected to see the company increase turnover by 25 per cent over the next 12 months and the training programme, supported by the European Social Fund through a Welsh Government initiative, is very much a key part of this success story.