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Prysmian Group learners and with their Upskills tutor

Local recycling, global solution

Have you ever wondered about the return on investment for workplace training? If you want to understand more about how workplace literacy can drive a sustainability initiative, this story from Prysmian Group will inspire you.

A need for connection and improved communication

Prysmian Group is a global company. It specialises in electrical cable for use in the energy and telecom sectors and for optical fibres. It operates in over 50 countries, including a New Lynn, West Auckland site.  New Zealand management had the vision to connect staff and upskill them in workplace communication. So Upskills was engaged to provide a workplace literacy and numeracy programme for its New Lynn team. 

The challenge

When changes came to the New Zealand site focusing on distribution rather than production, the team wondered what to do with the giant drums that coil and store cable for clients. Previously these had been reused as part of the production process, but when NZ production stopped, they became obsolete.

A global approach to research

Upskills Tutor Tania Vuletich says that to solve this problem, applied numeracy and literacy skills were front and centre.

“The project was at the heart of it all. It provided a great chance to dig into all the skills the course participants were learning, as well as providing great motivation for the team.” 

Digital skills, like communicating through the company’s social media site ‘Yammer’, meant ideas and inspiration came from all around the world. It promoted global connections and sharing of ideas. 

“One participant had never been online, and here he was getting ideas and feedback from Finland and other European countries.” 

The solution

Once the team had run through a LEAN-8 Wastes problem-solving framework, it landed on a local company that manufactures premium eco-friendly woodchip products from recycled timber.  The woodchip ends up on playgrounds, equestrian arenas and in landscaping supplies. The cost per truckload is significantly cheaper than disposing of the drums in a landfill site – a reduction of 83% per collection.  But the best thing is the environmental impact of keeping waste out of landfill. The group did not stop there. It went on to research how to recycle steel parts so every part of each drum can be reused. 

Sharing their success

Prysmian NZ Manager, Mark Beckham and his senior management team were impressed. Inspired by the idea, the thinking, and how the group presented its project; they wanted to share the initiative across the company.  The perfect chance to do that was to have the guys virtually present to the company’s recent Oceania Sustainability Committee.  It was another first for the group, who had never presented to an online audience – and they wowed the audience. “I’m proud of all the work you did. It will inspire other countries,” commented one member. 

A ripple effect

Mark says he’s so proud of the team and there’s a ripple effect to the project. “I appreciate what you guys have done. Our company is evolving with sustainability. Other people here have realised what you’ve done and are thinking of how to reuse and recycle.”

Tania says exploring the word ‘sustainability’ and what it meant was an ‘aha’ moment for her Level Up groups. “Understanding this word meant they could all engage with what is a company-wide focus and take action on sustainability locally,” she says. 

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Phone: 09 622 3979