Employer Story

Small changes make a big difference at Flowserve Flow Control

Flowserve is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of pumps, valves and seals, supplying STEM sectors with an extensive product range to meet modern industry’s flow control needs.

The Flowserve Flow Control manufacturing facility in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, employs over 100 staff and is crucial to the manufacturing and supply of its leading products.

The Apprenticeship Levy-paying employer approached Skills Training UK to create a tailored workforce development programme suited to their business needs and to bring new skills and knowledge into their day to day operations.

Skills Training UK’s team of highly experienced Trainer Assessors met with Flowserve management to fully immerse themselves in the culture of the business and identify potential skills gaps amongst the workforce.

Flowserve initially enrolled nine employees onto the Business Improvement Techniques (BIT) Level 2 and 3 Apprenticeships. The programmes have been delivered on-site with monthly visits from one of Skills Training UK’s Trainer Assessors.

The BIT training has helped Flowserve to upskill staff in continuous improvement processes (Kaizen) and workplace organisation techniques, as well as encouraging employees to think about how their role impacts on the wider business.

Skills Training UK has fully supported us to demonstrate the tangible benefits Apprenticeships can bring, whilst also helping us understand the costs and funding involved and how we can utilise our Apprenticeship Levy spend.

Natalie Clark, HR Officer at Flowserve Flow Control

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As part of the programme, Apprentices were encouraged to look at the way they operate and identify where improvements could be made to increase productivity, save time, and improve overall operations.

Employees on the machinery shop floor for example previously spent 1.5 hours draining and emptying a small silo of waste materials which often caused spillages and put a halt to production.

By purchasing a larger silo which drained itself, staff now only spend 10-20 minutes on the process and there is no longer any production halts. It has made the shop floor cleaner, more efficient and has led to initial first year saving of £25,000.

Other projects have included process mapping of key manufacturing procedures to identify additional potential savings.

Following on from the success of the BIT Apprenticeships, Skills Training UK has supported Flowserve Flow Control in managing and utilising their Levy budget, identifying new areas for training and workforce improvement within their organisation.

Flowserve Flow Control has since enrolled five employees on to Project Manager Level 4 Apprenticeships and one employee on Customer Service Level 3.

What the learners said

The Apprenticeship has given me the knowledge and tools to improve systems and procedures – by getting me to think about the root cause of problems and to think about what could be done differently.

Tony Pontremoli, 55, Quality Engineer and BIT Level 3 Apprentice

The Trainer Assessors have been easily accessible and I have found it beneficial to take the knowledge we have learnt and instantly apply it by putting processes into practice – it means we can see the benefits straight away.

Sandra Thomas, 39, Engineer and Change Controller, BIT Level 2 Apprentice

You can really see the benefits of the new projects spreading to the rest of the team. People are beginning to think differently about the way they operate and as a result of the successful projects, management are more open to new suggestions – it has made us more of a team.

Chery Catherine, 39, Customer Service Representative, BIT Level 2 Apprentice

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