Lafarge’s Dunbar Works has used the economic climate over the past 18 months, with downtime running around 50 per cent, to increase training efforts – and has achieved outstanding results.
Works manager Nigel Blair says using the time productively to ensure employees are equipped to be more efficient when the market picks up has been a worthwhile strategy.
“An impressive list of training achievements during the year is testimony to time well spent, and it’s helped to keep motivation levels high,” he says.
“We’ve been very pleased to keep apprentice training going throughout the downturn; two electrical apprentices completed their training during the year and now have permanent position at the Works.
“We have also taken on three new control room operators, who are currently undergoing training.
“Last year saw quarry employees working their way through a strict training programme including NVQs.
“All employees in the electrical department at Lafarge completed City and Guilds 17th edition training and they passed first time.”
He says there was Fire Warden training, IT courses, Mobile Plant training, and First Aiders underwent refresher classes.
Four mechanical inspectors – Leanne Donaldson, Peter Lennon, Kevin Moffat and Robert Wilthew – completed an intensive national inspector programme, and Leanne also joined Mike Huntly (electrical craftsman) and Callum Fairbairn (packing plant operator) in undergoing training to carry out NVQ assessments, with Kevin Skelton (electrical craftsman) achieving his NVQ assessor qualification during the year.
“But it wasn’t just vocational training,” says Nigel.
“We were also able to support academic training qualifications with Mark Grieve completing his second year of his DAPS course progressing and Glenn Young being awarded his Bachelor of Science degree.”
The Dunbar Works has 125 employees and is estimated to contribute more than £8 million to the local economy each year through salaries, rates, contracts with local suppliers and donations.
The site started operations in 1963 and is the only cement works in Scotland.
It has benefitted from some £100 million of investment since it was built, including a highly efficient kiln and landmark preheater tower and the £20 million gas scrubber built in 2007, which has halved sulphur and dust emissions.