The development of a flexible and highly trained workforce increases capability, raises standards and improves job satisfaction.
We have Continental Landscapes Academy centres at key locations across the country that promote excellence in service delivery, quality and staff development, all of which promotes staff retention.
We deliver formal training in horticulture and a range of other service delivery critical skills using in-house providers and partner organisations.
Training modules include:
Lone worker safety
Cemetery maintenance and burial services
Sports turf management
We are committed to continual training and development of our staff, with a documented annual training review leading to an agreed individual training plan.
One obstacle to staff being able to receive the training they need can be the time taken to do the training itself, including the potential for having to travel to training sessions if it cannot be conducted at their site of work. We have investigated different training models and one of the most useful has been delivering training through the format of e-learning. This has proved very successful in a number of ways, as candidates train at their own pace, to fit in with their existing workload and commitments, and don’t have to travel from their normal place of work. This ensures minimal time away from the duties they perform for their clients, whilst improving their personal development.
One such course was through the Virtual College to train a number of staff in Safeguarding Children and Adults-at-Risk. As we needed staff to act as regional points of contact for managers to contact should they need advice, we were faced with the potential challenge of training a small number of personnel from across the country, from our Livingston operations in Scotland, to our southern contracts in London. Using an e-learning course meant that all staff could train within their own schedules, without having to travel to a central point. This not only reduced cost and loss of staff time, but also removed an additional impact on the environment through vehicle emissions.
We have also undertaken a series of mental health awareness courses for all our staff, and our qualified First Aiders have also been trained in Mental Health First Aid.
Ensuring on-going success of any business means robust succession planning. Our apprenticeship programme commits to our having 1 apprentice for every 20 staff, ensuring we always have skilled employees within the workforce, and progression within our team via internal promotion.
Training during the apprenticeship is monitored and managed by our in-house training department, who conduct up to 80% of the training our apprentices require through their learning journey.
We offer apprenticeships in a wide range of subjects including sports turf, environmental studies, business and land-based engineering.
For our 30th anniversary we are looking to have 30 apprentices this year.
Trust is built on actions, not on job titles or position in the company. Recognising the way we interact forms the foundation of our reputation.
We see our management style being that of transformational leadership; leading by example and working collaboratively at all levels, based on continued development of the organisation.
In order to fulfill our vision we have produced various training sessions for our managers, supervisors and team leaders on leadership styles, team working and shared responsibilities etc. We have also identified individuals that would benefit from studying specific leadership/management qualifications and enter them into a graduate programme.
The reliability and consistency in our approach as leaders has resulted in a culture of mutual trust. We strive to make our visions apparent to others and concretise our ideas. The link between leadership and management is highlighted in a circular process that we follow.
The reflection on leadership has encouraged our company to view the characteristics of a transformational leader as an essential motivation instrument to staff. We understand that positive behaviour is a major tool in building a professional relationship with all stakeholders.
We are committed to equal opportunities in all aspects of our business and strive to benefit the communities in which we work.
We have a clear equal opportunities policy which is monitored internally to ensure compliance by managers in the course of employment and by all employees in the course of their daily work.
Our community focused equal opportunity strategies have clear benefits including:
Improved employment opportunities for local communities.
Ensuring all sections of the community are represented within the workforce.
Operatives who know the area in which they are working.
Reduced travelling time and vehicle emissions.
Reduced response times to attend nearby emergency situations.
Increased spending in the local community.
Increased local social mobility.
Improved work/life balance.
We have developed a range of initiatives to encourage local people into our profession including:
Managers giving talks and attending open days at local schools to target those students soon to be in the job market, to provide an insight into our industry and highlight the potential career paths available to them.
Enlisting the assistance of local Job Centres to produce and display job opportunities. They are able to target those people on their registers so that the opportunities are offered to as wide an audience as possible. They have the local knowledge and it is this which we aim to harness when recruiting new employees.
It isn’t just plants we care for; we make sure that our team members are nurtured and allowed to grow to their full potential. Via an established evaluation and appraisal programme we understand the aspirations of every individual, and can assist them with their journey along their career path.
We are proud that the majority of our management team are home grown and this natural succession is a major strength of the company.
Stories of personal career development
Our annual appraisal system provides an opportunity for staff with potential to be identified and a bespoke career path developed in agreement with them.
An example of this in practice is our Assistant Operations Director Paul Duffy. Paul joined Continental Landscapes in 1994 as a grounds maintenance operative and achieved promotions to team leader, supervisor, contract manager, and now AOD in 2018. He has completed numerous training courses, sponsored by Continental Landscapes. Examples include:
Paul has demonstrated exceptional potential and commitment to us and has been selected for further training to MBA level; highlighting our on-going commitment to our staff.