Chronicle John Lewis Case Study

John Lewis Chronicle | Distribution


English is claimed to be one of the harder languages to learn. This could be due to the many intricate factors in the language and that some words simply seem to have random letters thrown in when spelled (or should that be spelt?). Last September, John Lewis enrolled 60 Partners from Magna Park, Blakelands and Northampton on an English skills training course. This training allowed Partners to complete a qualification in English, and at the same time, improve their communication skills.

“The course gave me a more structured way of communicating especially when talking through my development with managers.”

Rafal – Blakelands Partner


The NDC Partners were divided into groups of 10 and each attended 13 tutorial sessions, learning to improve their English at each ability level. Magna Park Resource Planning Administrator Michal Ostapiuk said: “During the 13 sessions, the Partners faced many different challenges and experiences, from writing sets of instructions, composing cover letters to preparing a two minute presentation as a team.” JL Quote

“It’s been a pleasure supporting an organisation that places its Partners at the centre of everything it does and the positive outcome we’ve all experienced is as much down to the commitment of the Management and Partners at Magna Park Milton Keynes as the Core Skills Team at Train Together. We’re really looking forward to working with John Lewis Distribution on future programmes and are certain they will be met with the same enthusiasm and dedication as this programme has been.”

Charles Dall’omo (Managing Director at Train Together Ltd).


Train Together, the company that provided the training, were able to provide night shift classes as well as day sessions to help support the different shift patterns across the NDCs. Learning and Development Coach Tanith Dolan and Recruitment Coordinator Jenny Marsh organised the training programme and worked closely with Train Together. “It was great to work with a training provider that understood the operational needs of Distribution, running courses at night and in the middle of the day,” Tanith said, “This meant we were able to tailor the English needs to the individual Partner”.

“The knowledge we gained was invaluable, improving our grammar and punctuation to solving problems over the phone at work.”

Michal Ostapiuk – Magna Park Resource Planning Administrator


The culmination of the programme was an Edexcel English exam at the level each Partner had been working towards, providing the Partners with a national qualification for their achievement.


On Wednesday 6 March 2013, the Partners gathered at Magna Park to receive their Edexcel Certificate and be congratulated by Head of NDCs Terry Murphy Terry said: “l was honoured to be asked to present the certificates to the Partners who had successfully completed the different levels of the English Skills course. It was a superb achievement by each individual and a great example of persistence from Tanith and Jenny, which truly paid dividends to all involved.” “The course has enabled me to gain more confidence in communication,” said Northampton Partner Ian Knights, “l have greater belief in my writing skills.” With their improved English skills, the 60 Partners are now able to contribute even further to the Partnership and their working environment. Magna Park Receptionist Beita Worlenka said: “This course has no doubt improved my English skills. I meet a lot of people daily, so this has enabled me to communicate much clearer”.

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With the success of this training, Tanith is looking into how the Partnership can continue to support Partners. Tanith said: “We are working with the central Government Initiatives team to agree a plan of action as to how we support our Partners across the network with English, Maths and PC skills going forward.”