Lean business training helps people in Portsmouth with learning difficulties

PEOPLE with learning disabilities are being helped into the horticulture and agriculture industries.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 11:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 2:07 pm

Catherine Burland, who works for the Parks Service of Portsmouth City Council, had been trained in lean training by Gosport-based business specialists Fedden USP, in her previous role working for a commercial garden nursery.

She realised lean tools have the potential to benefit those with memory issues, including brain injury and dementia, those with learning disabilities, sensory processing and learning difficulties and autism.

This is because they can be heavily reliant on structure and routine. Lean working involves the reduction of variation.

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Team members in the rec shed at Portsmouth City Council project Waterfront Garden Centre showcasing their mug visual identification system.

Catherine is now running a Portsmouth City Council project at the Waterfront Garden Centre in Portsmouth, where lean methods are applied to support small groups of eight or nine adults with a variety of learning disabilities.

She has 15 volunteers helping her with the training to enable individuals to attain a standard comparable to a Level One NVQ in horticultural skills.

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She said: ‘The application of lean learning processes has gone a long way to helping our supported individuals and our volunteers, all with differing needs and abilities, to gain improved skills to help them become more employable and confident in their daily lives.

‘And it helps with a large age group as we support individuals ranging from 18 up to their mid-60s to achieve their own personal goals.’

Some of the techniques include things as simple as labelling a cupboard so people know what is inside.

Neil Fedden, owner and managing consultant at Fedden USP, said: ‘Both standardisation and visual management are the key Lean tools that can help individuals with learning disabilities.

‘The standardisation provides a clearly defined process that is both repeatable and well documented and the visual management aspect puts more focus on communicating how the process operates through pictures and colour rather than just relying on written or verbal communications.

‘It’s good to see how lean can be used in this way.’