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Goodman Fielder has always been passionate about the development and growth of its staff. For the last three years, it’s been walking the talk by working with Upskills. Taking advantage of government funding for workplace literacy, Goodman Fielder has put hundreds of its staff through our Workplace Literacy and Emerging Leaders courses. Of these students, there’s one who stands out above the others – Michael Malloy.

Disappointing news

Michael’s work at Quality Bakers (one of the Goodman Fielder brands) had started to stagnate after a few years.

“I was actually getting quite bored working on the floor, doing the same thing every day,” remembers Michael. “So I went to my Plant Supervisor and told him “Look, I’m idling a bit, I really want to advance myself in the company.”

However, Michael’s desire to advance didn’t immediately produce results. He was initially overlooked for some key roles at work.

His Plant Supervisor, Saurabh, remembers the day, two years ago, when Michael entered his office visibly upset.

“He asked why he wasn’t chosen for the most recent apprenticeship intake,” Saurabh recalls. “He was clearly very stressed and frustrated by the news.”

New to the business, Saurabh asked Michael a few probing questions to brainstorm potential reasons why he wasn’t chosen. After plenty of discussions, Saurabh and Michael got to the heart of the issue. Michael knew that he had challenges with his communication. He could often come across to co-workers and managers as having an ‘attitude’. This image was holding him back in his career and he’d had enough.

He wanted to do more with his career, and not let a lack of skills limit his progress.

Turning over a new leaf

Following his missed opportunity for an apprenticeship, Michael turned over a new leaf.

Despite their difficult conversation, Michael impressed Saurabh with his desire to change. “I saw a young man who was willing to offer the world, in return for some coaching/training.” For Michael, his motivation was clear – to be a role model for his two kids and not work the same job his whole career. As Saurabh could see, Michael’s intentions were admirable and it would be a shame for Quality Bakers to lose an employee with such potential.  Michael just needed the skill-set to put this potential into action.

Goodman Fielder organised the training with Upskills, one of our emerging leadership courses.  Michael’s Upskills tutor, Lynne explains,

“We designed the programme at Quality Bakers to support the development of leadership behaviours, language, and confidence at the level of emerging leaders across the site. This suited Michael perfectly, as he had clear goals relating to his communication.”

Michael was clear he wanted to become a better leader. So this shone through in his interactions with classmates and tutors at Upskills.

“Michael had opinions on everything and he wasn’t shy about bringing those forward,” Lynne emphasised. “His interactions brought a realness to the learning environment, that everyone benefited from.”

Ultimately, Michael really engaged with the opportunity to learn leadership and communication skills, gaining a skill set which would enable him to further his career. From Michael’s point of view, the time he spent with his learner group was fantastic. He describes the weekly courses “like a group of friends getting together for a purpose.” Both enjoyable and informative. Participating in the Upskills courses better positioned Michael to improve his standing at work.

Stepping up

Now, when you ask Saurabh, he says Michael is a completely different person.

“Now we see a caring individual, someone who is interested in what his workmates are doing/saying, who wants to do well.”

But more than that, Michael now has the skills to execute this step up. His career path has opened up dramatically, currently completing an apprenticeship and often filling in as Shift Manager. His co-workers describe him as someone who can communicate extremely well and all hold him in high regard. Michael knew he needed the tools to be a great leader. He had never worked in any sort of management position before and he now credits his improved ability to communicate to his great tutors. “Upskills really gave me the development tools, teaching me that if and when I manage people, these are certain things I need to look out for – different learning styles etc.”

Michael (second from right) developed his people and leadership skills throughout the course as well as building key relationships with his colleagues.

Michael gets along well with management and his managers now view him as an integral part of the team. He recognises that his development time with Upskills has had a huge influence on raising his profile at work. Not only do people know who he is, but they know that he’s looking for new challenges and willing to put the effort in.

“It gets you on the map a little bit, it gets you interacting with management.” he says.

Looking back on his development, Michael credits the new skills he’s learnt for his step-up and the way in which career opportunities have opened up. He made the change from someone who would easily lose his cool and rub people the wrong way with his communication, to the guy that can be relied on when times are difficult. He is now able to run meetings and command his presence in a room.

“You would have never gotten me up to speak publically before taking part in the Upskills courses,” Michael laughs.

Now management specifically calls on him to present to his colleagues and even travel to Australia to do so.

Looking to the future

Michael’s career path is looking bright – there’s no more stagnation and sitting in the same role for him. His jobs at work have diversified significantly with his development. For example, he’s now doing everything from working on the production line to managing inventory. Within these roles, he’s handling some key leadership tasks. After finishing his apprenticeship, the opportunities ahead of him are enormous. Speaking of Michael’s future, Saurabh says,

“With the same attitude and eagerness to learn new things, I would see him in my role in the not too distant future.”

Michael is now able to be the role model he’s always wanted to be for his workmates. More importantly to him, he’s a role model to his kids.

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Address: 93 Church St, Onehunga, Auckland 1061
Free parking: 120 minutes, Gerrard Beeson Pl.
Phone: 09 622 3979