Award success for East Lothian Seafood Company

MUSSELBURGH seafood processor, JK Thomson, is celebrating its success in Scotland’s Modern Apprentice Awards 2014, having gained SME Employer of the Year.
This accolade demonstrates exceptional commitment to the Modern Apprenticeship programme, which JK Thomson has shown by planning to put their entire workforce through Modern Apprenticeships.
The aim is to increase the technical awareness of staff and is a key component of the company’s business strategy.
‘We have already put 65 per cent of the staff through the programme and expect to achieve 100% within a year or so’, said Partner, Stephen Thomson.
‘There’s a good feeling amongst our employees and they are all very positive about the Modern Apprenticeships.’
Over the past few years, JK Thomson has grown rapidly, with its customer base expanding from local companies to include large retailers such as Morrisons, and other processors for value adding.
The change has meant employing increasing numbers of staff and paying particular attention to training, to ensure the company’s reputation for a high quality product could be maintained.
Seafood Scotland worked with JK Thomson, introducing them to the Modern Apprenticeship scheme and helping them to access suitable trainers.
‘Joining the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme has brought many business benefits, including improved team working, new product development, and increased motivation, and it has now become integral to the company’s ethos and culture’, explained Quality Assurance Manager, Enoch Robinson.
‘We were pleased to find that the workforce quickly responded to the challenge, taking greater pride in their work and more ownership of their roles and responsibilities.’
Training was provided by Polaris Learning Ltd, and Stephen Thomson explained that their expertise and enthusiasm was an essential part in J K Thomson being able to achieve so much in such a short space of time.
‘We look forward to having the remaining staff fully trained in the near future,’ he said.
JK Thomson has also benefitted from assistance received under Seafood Scotland’s Business & Market Development Support Programme, including a facilitated introduction to a major high street retailer, which led to a listing in the retailer’s Scottish stores.
Funding was additionally provided to support a Train the Trainer programme, which enabled skilled staff to learn how to train the existing workforce.
This up-skilling gave the business confidence to expand its customer base and to seek additional orders.
Ian Land, SFS Business Development Manager said: ‘The Business & Market Development programme works with companies to help support the sustainable economic growth of Scotland’s seafood industry, by helping develop their capabilities and providing them with the ability to fully exploit new markets.
‘Our work with J K Thomson is an excellent example of how this achieves results.’