Investing in people and upskilling has always been a priority for WJ Group. Developing our workforce is key to our present and future success as a business. Our aim is to help all employees continually improve, maximise their potential, develop new skills and contribute to the wider industry through collaboration.
Accepting that we do operate in a high risk industry, as well as developing skills, it is also paramount to establish and maintain a good behavioural safety and wellbeing culture. As a WJ core value, safety forms a key part of all our training.
In support of these objectives WJ have developed an extensive and award winning ‘Induction’ to ensure all new starters are given the tools and understanding they need. The induction is a residential course, over 5 days, covering operative safety with hands on practical sessions as well as ‘Policies and Procedures’. It’s important that new employees are immersed into the group culture and understand that their safety and wellbeing is interdependent on WJ colleagues, the wider highways industry and the communities, where and for whom they work. Also, subjects as diverse as Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) in Construction, Air Quality and Waste are key elements of the training.
Building on the foundation provided by the WJ Training Academy, the requirements of National Highways Sector Scheme 7 (NHSS7) and the Road Safety Markings Association (RSMA) applied skills training, WJ have been collaborating with the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) for some time. Developed from the IHE “Elevating the Practical” initiative they have recognised the value of practical industry experience and professional development of people at all levels to help address the skills shortage.
IHE Chief Executive Richard Hayes said “the IHE want to recognise experience and focus on providing engineers and technicians with the skill set and knowledge that is vitally needed by the highways industry.”
The road marking sector has a considerable number of people, with practical experience, who have risen through the ranks to become supervisors, managers and directors and now the IHE are ensuring the wider industry can recognise them as professionals.
Membership of the IHE has facilitated WJ individuals to take advantage of the Institutes extensive highways experience and trained specialist advisors, mentors and reviewers whilst working towards formally recognised qualifications, based upon their industry experience.
WJ Group who already have a number of proud employees with IHE Membership and EngTech Professional Qualifications are the winners of the prestigious Highways England “Championing Safety” award based on their “Transforming Roadmarking Sector Safety Standards”.
Encouraged by recognition and staff response to training, WJ have already taken personal development to the next level, embarking on a companywide ‘Leadership Training’ initiative for anyone within a leadership skills role. Not only this, many staff, identified as potential future leaders, have been included and asked to participate, providing them with the tools they will need to progress their careers.
“Our employees are our greatest asset and we recognise them as professional people who make a valuable contribution to the successful implementation of highway infrastructure maintenance. It’s that ethos that has helped us grow a highly successful business” says Wayne Johnston, WJ Group Managing Director.
Looking to the future, it’s the ISO 44001:2017 standard of collaborative business relationships that is becoming more of a standard way of doing business, so having staff with the skills and industry recognised professional qualifications, complimented by sector qualifications will no doubt raise the professional status of WJ and enable even more collaborative engagement.
That has to make the highways infrastructure maintenance industry a safer and a more interesting place to build a career.