Packaging firm Kama Europe has its training needs wrapped up thanks to help from the Automotive Sector Strategic Alliance (Assa).

The Sedgefield firm, which employs 100 staff, manufactures polystyrene plastic packaging for food use.

It used Assa to develop the management skills of its shopfloor workers because of its track record of training other high-volume manufacturing employees.

As a result, David Bentham, extrusion shift manager and Edward Kirkup, a senior operator, are celebrating success having completed an Introductory Management Certificate.

David, from Easington, has been with Kama for six years and has been a shift manager for 18 months, responsible for seven workers.

He said: "Like most modern manufacturing businesses, Kama operates a very lean, highly computerised and efficient production line where there is little room for error.

"This requires front-line workers, like myself, to be equipped with a variety of skills to ensure that down-time is avoided, wastage is reduced and productivity is maximised."

Both David and Edward completed self-help workbooks as part of the 30-hour training course and also attended a productivity workshop at Assa's residential training centre, in Alston, Cumbria.

Derek Robb, Assa courses facilitator, said: "Our aim is to deliver a lifetime in work by helping people like David and Edward progress their careers.

"The programme is designed to benefit those workers who are in a supervisory or management role and need broad breadth of knowledge to help them do their job more efficiently and effectively.

"By basing the course around workbooks we are able to help busy production staff fit their learning around their work commitments and the workshop at Alston enables them to learn about communication, team work and Japanese production techniques away from the distractions of the shopfloor."