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Business & Economy

Signage company upskills entire workforce

A manufacturer which makes signage for some of the world’s leading brands has invested in the development of every member of its workforce.

Astley, which employs 135 people and is headquartered at Team Valley, partnered Gateshead College using funding from the European Social Funding Agency.

Delivered by 3P Training, the programme enables the employees of Astley, working as part of cross-functional teams, to gain a better understanding of Kaizen, Visual Management and 5S.  2560 hours of training has been undertaken to date.

As well as the company-wide learning initiatives, leadership training has been undertaken by those in a supervisory role focusing on team leading principles and managing effective teams.

Gavin Redhead, Commercial Director at Astley, said: “As a company we are committed to investing in our staff as part of our succession planning programme and long-term plans for growth.

“In a company like ours there are many different departments, all of which have an important part to play in our overall offering, and we really wanted staff to have a chance to learn more about disciplines outside of their own skillset.

“Every single employee will undertake the training programme and we believe it will put us in a strong position to grow – our staff are key to this and we want them to feel valued and know that, no matter what stage of their career they’re at, there are opportunities at Astley to develop.”

Ian Dixon is a Team Leader and former apprentice within the company. He said “The training was such a good experience as while I had some understanding of other business processes, spending time with colleagues from other departments was invaluable. It really has helped me gain a better understanding of everything the business does and how each one of us can contribute to its success.”

Astley designs, manufactures and installs signs for national brands such as BP, Frankie and Benny’s, Waitrose, Esso, Sainsbury’s and Hilton, as well as making the giant Great North Run sign which is displayed on the side of the Tyne Bridge in the build up to the national race.

Eighteen months ago, Astley made a significant step in expanding its national portfolio with the acquisition of Sign of the Times, based in Kettering, Northamptonshire.

The deal boosted Astley’s offering to customers, and further accelerates its expansion into new markets with more digitally printed services and bespoke work, especially in the south of the UK.

Founded more than 90 years ago, Astley manages annual signage programmes for clients across a range of sectors including grocery retail, petroleum, leisure and public sector. Other highlights for the company, which also has sites in Leeds and Glasgow, include being appointed the only approved UK manufacturer of BP signage and securing a three-year contract with Texaco.