Best Skills Initiative Awards Entry: Peel Ports Group (1)

Award Nomination:

Starting with all employee development and early careers, through to developing our aspiring leaders and empowering our current leaders at PPG, this journey starts from day one, enabling and growing core knowledge, skills and abilities across PPG. 

Your Journey – all employees: 

  • Group & local Induction 
  • Core, Statutory & Mandatory Training 
  • Role specific training and/or qualifications 

Flying Start – focusing on: 

  • Graduate development 
  • Apprenticeship Development 
  • Internships & year in industry 

Aspiring Leaders: 

  • First Line Management: Supervisor & Team Leader level 
  • Middle Management: Middle & Senior Management level 
  • Senior Leadership: DPD & Head of/Director level 
  • Executive & Director Leadership: Exec & PD level 

You Journey example: Port Operative apprenticeship

We supported the level 2 apprenticeship standards trailblazer group in creating a new apprenticeship standard that fits more closely with working practices in the Port.

At PPG we agreed a ‘flexible’ approach to our apprenticeships which includes ‘front-loaded’ learning. This approach ensures we cover all safety elements of the role ahead of them entering a safety critical environment.

Over the last year 41 Port Operatives are progressing through the Level 2 apprenticeship standard in Port Operations.

As part of the journey, we are aiming to professionalise our existing Port Operatives, by giving them a qualification to build a pathway to higher education within the business and introducing soft skills such as self-management, problem solving and good communication skills.

Additional Information

We needed to focus on the right skills for today and the future to ensure we keep up with fast-paced changes in technology, the evolving business landscape and our growth plans and strategies.

At the start of the project, we worked to improve our existing induction processes and delivery which incorporated a strong safety focus and included introductory messages from our senior safety management team. In addition to this, we reviewed and continue to review our current offering and providers for core, statutory and mandatory training making significant changes in our manual handling and long products offering.

We then looked more closely at the specific training and qualifications required for each role and actively sought out partnerships with PSS, external training providers and local colleges to support this.

The PPLA is aimed to provide a detailed training plan for all existing employees for succession purposes and employees entering the business.

PPG then moved on to developing our apprenticeship offering Groupwide and presently have 90 apprentices across PPG completed apprenticeships in Engineering, Port Operations and in corporate functions such as HR, IT and Finance.

This is closely supported by team mentors and additional training designed to enhance their apprenticeship experience.

Our aspiring leaders have been given the opportunity take part in the LEAD programme which focuses on commercial awareness and the leadership skills required to become and effective leader. Skills such as commercial and financial awareness, HR competencies, EHS and effective leadership are delivered as part of this programme.

For ongoing succession planning. our aspiring leaders identified by senior managers are being offered the opportunity to complete a sponsored degree as part of their identified succession plan.

Core areas that support this


We have also supported the Level 2 apprenticeship standards trailblazer group in creating a new apprenticeship standard that fits more closely with our working practices here at the Port. The new standard has now separated Cargo Operations and Passenger Ferry and Cruise Liner operations and offers new standards that closely fit each area of the business.

We are now developing the Level 3 apprenticeship standard in Port Supervision. As business this will support succession planning and upskilling from our employees in supervisory positions.

Our engineering apprenticeships continue to be offered across our group via the Mechatronics pathway and we are also working on improvements to induction process in support of this delivery.

Skills needs analysis:

We recognised the need to focus on hard and soft skills that are essential to individual roles, that drive competence in essential areas such as safety.

This allows us to:

  • Highlight emerging gaps in succession planning.
  • Uncover hidden talent to better enable talent mobility (and lower recruitment spend)
  • Expose ill-defined job roles or KPIs
  • Diagnose specific gaps, making for more accurate resourcing

Identify gaps and align them to business needs by offering beneficial learning interventions.