Park Cakes women rise to the challenge with Management Training

Park Cakes is one of the UK's leading manufacturers of retailer own brand cakes. With more than 1000 employees at sites in Bolton and Oldham, Park Cakes recognised the need to introduce a management development programme before implementing strategic changes across the business to improve efficiency and productivity.

Veronica from Park Cakes explains: "We had four women in the company who had been with us for between 10 and 20 years. They were what you might call real homegrown talent, who had progressed well throughout the company without little development. As their roles were about to become more demanding and opportunities identified for further progression, I wanted to offer more robust development to support them."

The Solution

After meeting up with Louise Codling, the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink's Bakery Skills Consultant, it became clear the Women and Work Sector Pathways Initiative could meet Park Cakes' needs. Veronica was referred to Manchester-based training provider Total Excellence Centre, a member of the National Skills Academy'S Leadership & Management Network.

The final programme delivered by Total Excellence Centre covered four topics - personal effectiveness, leadership and team effectiveness, communicating effectively and behavioural understanding, delivered over six days at a conference centre in Manchester.

The Benefits

Veronica said: "I could see the immediate benefits of the scheme and ended up putting 14 women forward for the training from right across the business, from Bakery Management to New Product Development, HR, process Development to CSR and Planning. Total Excellence Centre was fantastic. They listened to our needs and tailored a programme that would meet the needs of our business. A key factor of the success I think is that Total Excellence Centre didn't justtalk to us about our needs, they spoke to the 14 candidates at length about their expectations, which got their immediate buy in from day one and they've all given excellent feedback:.

"One key outcome I wanted was to get the group to think outside the box and start to question the way both they and the business did things. You can see how the training is already delivering in this respect- one said it has helped them to get off the hamster wheel and question whether everything around them could be done better.

"I think programmes like this are very important. Our company has a lot offemale employees but I do think women are under-represented higher up the ladder generally across the industry. I think facilitation is the key and I can think of one of our candidates who has been identified with potential for senior management roles but didn't quite have the confidence to make full use of her abilities. This programme has been a great opportunity to support her and all the others in gaining that confidence. If we're looking at how to get more women into senior roles, I think enabling women to make best use of their talent is the way to go."


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