Winning entry: BWF Trainee of the Year sponsored by CITB
Name of Trainee: Greg Kasowicz
BWF Member Firm: Gowercroft Limited
Type of work/product(s) produced: Internal and External Bespoke Joinery
Greg joined Gowercroft Joinery in early 2015 via a Level 3 Sales Administration apprenticeship from Learning Unlimited based at Chesterfield College. From the initial interview, it was clear to us that Greg had the desire and aptitude to become a valuable asset to the company.
Initially Greg’s role was in supporting the Sales tracking and processing elements of the business and he set about this task with great enthusiasm. It is a policy of the company that we give all apprentices an opportunity to experience different elements of the business, and when Greg was tasked with assisting the Production processes, it seemed to come very naturally to him. Greg made a gradual transition through order processing to Production planning and control. Learning Unlimited were able to flex the training course to focus on areas that supported these new responsibilities.
Greg is now approaching the final stages of his apprenticeship and has become a key member of the Production team. His key job responsibilities and achievements are as follows:
Production planning. Greg took an outdated production planning system and with assistance from Directors, designed and implemented an Excel-based system. This system allowed us to streamline production batches, improve communication to customers on timeliness and order key materials on time. The system also allowed us produce weekly Key Performance Indicators which could be used to identify bottlenecks in the business and inform our weekly Production meetings.
Since the original implementation, Greg has had full control of maintaining the system and inputting current job progress.
Purchasing and stock systems. Once Greg had control of the production planning, it was a natural transition for him to ensure that materials were available as required for jobs.
Job specific ordering. Greg now ensures that full specification is available for all projects before they are released to production. If non-stocked items are required for a project, then he will source and purchase those items to be delivered in advance of their requirement on the shop floor. He has full responsibility for kitting of projects.
Standard stock. With assistance from a Director, Greg has redesigned the stocking system for the whole company. He now receives itemised stock requirement lists from each area of the workshop on the same day each week, this allows him to batch purchasing saving time and money.
Quality systems. Gowercroft have a continual improvement quality system that applies to the whole organisation. All quality issues that relate to materials or suppliers are passed back to Greg, who will assess whether the issues are systemic and communicate with suppliers accordingly. Greg presents any of these findings back to the Production team and shop floor supervisors in monthly Quality meetings. Greg minutes the meetings and circulates to the appropriate parties.
In summary, Greg has an exceptional attitude and has continually demonstrated his desire to learn and improve both himself and the company. He is a great asset and we are very pleased to nominate him for this award.
Training Provider Statement (Learning Unlimited, Chesterfield)
Greg started his Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship in March 2015, from the interview stage it was evident he had the skills to start on a level 3 qualification.
Initially units were chosen to reflect Greg’s support role in the company, due to the rapid progression in his role and extra responsibility these units were reviewed to now incorporate business planning, negotiating and quality improvement to develop these skills as part of his new production role. The projects detailed in the employer statement have been effectively used to cover the Business level 3 Diploma and Greg has demonstrated a high level of competence through the qualification during all of these areas. Greg’s timekeeping is exemplary; assessments produced are of high quality and submitted in a timely fashion.
Greg has an enthusiastic approach to his work and qualification, with the support of the team at Gowercroft he has shone in his role and has been pivotal in the new implementations detailed above. Greg has completed work based projects alongside his Diploma with a focus on planning, ordering systems and Quality. Within these projects Greg has demonstrated outstanding Spreadsheet skills, attention to detail and the drive to be involved in all areas of the business. Greg uses innovative approaches to tackle projects and improvements, he has integrated well into the team and his confidence continues to develop.
Greg has been a model apprentice and a pleasure to support, he has exceeded all expectations and it is a pleasure to support him and the company in this nomination.
I began at Gowercroft on a Level 3 Sales Administration apprenticeship, but I soon found out that this did not excite me or play to my strengths. I felt that the production side of the business was a better fit and through appraisals with management, we began to make that transition.
I feel very at home in my current role, where I oversee production planning and purchasing. Both of these areas provide the opportunity for major process improvements and are critical to the overall success of the business. Learning Unlimited have been able to adjust my apprenticeship along the way to ensure that my learning is relevant to the job role and my long term aspirations.
My long term aspiration has always been to run my own company and my time at Gowercroft has given me the opportunity to explore multiple functions of the business. Winning this award would confirm that hard work does breed success and give me the confidence to take on further responsibility.
The BWF Trainee of the Year Award is one of two awards that celebrates the success of the rising stars of the joinery industry.
This award seeks to celebrate those that have entered through other training routes, including graduates, A-Level students and in-house trainees. They may have achieved some fantastic feats in their work, or show extraordinary commitment that really adds value to a company's workforce or the production.
Entries are open to any trainee that is undertaking (or has recently undertaken) external training/qualifications, or a structured in-house training programme that is employed within a joinery company, and will recognise outstanding achievement, commitment, adding value to the trainee's company, and personal development. Here you can view the shortlist for the awards.