September 13th, 2011
Training provides business boost for Vitaco
Healtheries and Nutra-Life merged in 2009 to form Vitaco Health Ltd
. Although both parent companies manufactured and distributed natural health and wellness products, their company cultures and business practices differed significantly. This meant integrating the two businesses caused confusion and a lack of cohesion in management practices and processes. It also made the need for training inevitable.
Responsibility to organise training fell into the hands of Vitaco’s training and development advisor, Amanda Sterling
. And because one of Vitaco’s key business objectives was to become a ‘Best Places to Work’ organisation, Amanda knew Vitaco needed to train and upskill its managers.
The first difficulty Amanda faced was that no existing training programmes covered the exact skills and knowledge Vitaco managers would need. Refusing to be defeated by the setback, Amanda took on the challenge of making Vitaco the first company to internally write, accredit and deliver its own Manager Training Programme.
To support her in this considerable feat, Amanda asked Auckland-based Competenz account managers, Michelle Kesha and Mollyn Raju
, for help. Vitaco had initially approached other training experts, but all – except Competenz – told the company it was mad. Competenz agreed to work alongside Vitaco to first train Amanda to become an NZQA assessor, and then manage the company’s pre- and post-assessment moderation process.
Vitaco’s training programme is now aligned to achieve the Level 4 National Certificate in Business, First Line Management. This qualification recognises the skills and knowledge expected of people who are working in first line management roles, such as team leaders, supervisors, or charge hands.
The first participants started the course in May 2010, and finished it in May 2011 – meeting the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) requirement to complete this National Certificate programme within 12 months. So far, four Vitaco employees have graduated from the programme. Graduates’ roles have ranged from a Sales Manager, a Product Development Manager to an IT Manager.
“Two participants had not earned any formal qualifications since leaving high school – so graduating was a proud moment for them, and has really boosted their career prospects and morale,” comments Amanda. “And from Vitaco’s perspective, they now have the skills and capabilities to manage their teams far more effectively.”
As a bonus, the Management Training Programme also meets four of Vitaco’s ‘Five Pillars’ – key drivers that support business performance. These pillars include quality training, continuous innovation, cost savings, and investment in people through leadership and development opportunities.
Next steps: award nominations and new programmes
As a testament to Vitaco’s success, the company’s training initiative was nominated for the HR Initiative of the Year award. This prestigious award is run by the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ). It is designed to recognise the excellent work being done by HR teams who think outside the square and introduce innovation into their HR practices.
Going forward, Vitaco is already planning a programme for operational team leaders that will align to a Level 3 National Certificate in Business – First Line Management. Plus, the company is considering a Level 5 qualification as well.
“We have already responded to feedback from the participants,” says Amanda.
“Now we are excited to continue developing and improving our Level 4 qualification for the future.”
Vitaco's inaugural Level 4 business first line management graduates put through Amanda's Manager Training Programme are (L-R) Jackie Herbert, Joanne Reece, Janine Khull, and Tamati Montgomery.