John Lewis – Core Skills Case Study

About John Lewis

The John Lewis Partnership’s 84,700 Partners own the leading UK retail businesses of Waitrose and John Lewis, as well as John Lewis Broadband and John Lewis Insurance services. John Lewis’ founder’s vision of a successful business powered by its people and its principles defines their unique company today. The profits and benefits created by John Lewis’ success are shared by all their Partners.

The Challenge

John Lewis is interested in developing all its Partners to help them realise their full potential. These Partners come from diverse backgrounds, with varying successes within the formal education system. Train Together was asked to deliver Functional Skills qualifications in both English and Maths to all Partners interested in advancing these core skills.

The main aims of the Functional Skills programmes were:

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The key areas of challenge in designing and implementing the programme of study were:

  • Partner rotas that operated over varying lengths of time
  • Past experiences of learning were not always positive
  • Addressing the individual needs of all candidates, including overcoming barriers to learning such as dyslexia

The Solution

Our Education team was able to map the individual Partner rotas to schedule sessions that fit each Partner. The approach was tailored around the site’s specific requirements, including preferred day and time of delivery. At one site this included provision for night Partners where we offered a late evening training session at the beginning of their shift, while another site offered provision for those who work only at weekends in the form of a Saturday delivery.

  • Partners were assigned by ability to small groups, to allow plenty of time for individual support if required
  • A trainer with experience in Functional Skills delivery was assigned to each group, allowing for consistency and a more personalised learning experience
  • Resources were developed to be fun and engaging, while addressing all the required learning aims of the program
  • Activities were designed to be varied and interactive
  • Resources were tailored to meet the individual needs of all learners, including those on the dyslexic spectrum. This included a large clear font for all learners and coloured paper/overlays where required by particular individuals

“I feel that Train Together stood out for their ability to offer flexible delivery across multiple sites adapting to the operational needs of each.

One early issue with the Functional Skills Programme (FSP) was attendance. With the support and guidance offered by Train Together, the issues were quickly resolved and the Partners reengaged to commit to their development.

The John Lewis Partners have benefited hugely by further developing in areas and skills that they were not able to achieve in school. This has really built their confidence not just in themselves, but in their roles within John Lewis.

We are currently piloting an ECDL programme in our Park Royal service building. If it goes well it would be useful for some of our Partners to focus solely on IT as they may already be skilled at English & maths. Boosting their IT skills will help to increase their confidence further, helping them use technology that will improve efficiency across the John Lewis sites.

We are pleased with the success of the FSP to date and would definitely include Train Together when looking to develop new programmes in the future.”

Sonia Mateo – Qualifications Manager at John Lewis

The Result

Site and Partner feedback has been very positive, with the majority of sites requesting additional courses. The John Lewis Distribution Centre in Milton Keynes is now starting its third Functional Skills programme with interest from around 100 Partners, while the Norwich branch of John Lewis is planning to begin a second programme with more Partners after a successful Functional Skills English course of just 12 Partners.

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