A life-changing adult learning programme developed by Upskills and biscuit and snacks maker The Griffin’s Foods Company was a category winner at the Diversity Works Awards in Auckland on Wednesday night. The Be Brave programme aims to increase workplace communication, job satisfaction and productivity.

“We’ve had the opportunity to come in and work alongside teams at Griffin’s, equipping them with the communication skills they need to thrive," said Sarah Balfour Director and co-founder of Upskills.

“We’ve worked with senior management to create a programme that involves genuine input from employees at operator level. This has given them a chance to really be heard and make a difference within the company, for themselves and for the business moving forward.”

Susan Walls HR Manager at Griffin’s said the Be Brave programme was designed to build staff confidence, tackling communication breakdowns in the workplace by helping employees to speak out, and change attitudes. “This programme has had an enormous impact not only for our company, but also for our employees and their families," said Walls.

One of those employees is Operator Krystal Maiden from Papakura, who has been with Griffin’s for almost four years. A mum of two, Krystal said she has learnt so much from the course including how to put herself “out there” in the workplace.

“I had a crap upbringing and never really had strong role models,” says Krystal. “But since I’ve been here at Griffins I’ve managed to get a number of certificates and I’m able to bring those home and show my children," said Maiden.

“Doing this course has made me realise I shouldn’t be afraid to put myself out there to reach my goals to make my life better for me and my family,” she says. “It’s given me the courage to apply for a place on the company cadet programme, which will give me additional skills and leadership development. For my kids to be able to see me achieving these things, it really means a lot.”

James Tasi from Papakura is a Mixer at Griffin’s and said he learned a lot about communication. “Growing up I didn’t get a chance to get a good education… but doing this course has pushed me into the next level," said Tasi.

Through their tailored educational programmes, Upskills deliver high calibre training in the workplace for a range of organisations and businesses, including projects that utilise the Government’s workplace literacy and numeracy fund. Together with their clients, Upskills were the workplace literacy and numeracy category award winners at the 2015 and 2017 Diversity Works Awards.