From no English to star supervisor: milestone achievement for cleaning company employee
A star supervisor from Bio-Productions has reached a milestone achievement with the cleaning company this month.
Olga Cepukoit-Kulmatytska is celebrating ten years since she joined the business, which manufactures environmentally-friendly cleaning products for professional, janitorial and industrial use, after moving to England from Lithuania in 2008.
Unable to speak any English at the time, Olga was thrown in the deep end at the company’s purpose-built factory in Burgess Hill. Working as a line operator, she and her colleagues ensured the smooth operation of the Wets Department but Olga also set to work devising strategies for waste reduction.
“From the start, we knew she was special,” says Phil Karn, Olga’s then-supervisor and Operations Director at Bio-Productions since 2014. “We joke about the first time I trained her because back then, with little or no English, she still had strong ideas about what we could do to maximise our efficiency and we’ve since gone on to adopt those methods to great effect.”
Only able to understand ‘good morning’ and ‘goodbye’, Olga – who lives in Crawley – started learning English in her spare time while Phil provided grammatical guidance.
“He’d help me to refine my sentences and correct my mistakes,” Olga remembers. “He really took me under his wing so that I became fluent and was more than generous with his time. I’ll always be so grateful. The level of support was even more than you’d expect from a close friend.”
Within months, Olga became proficient in English and soon made the transition from line operator to supervisor, where she looked after some members of staff who had actually worked at the company far longer than her.
She has since climbed the ladder with supervisory stints in the Gels Department, as well as the Sanitare and Powders division. In 2015, she welcomed her mother Nina to the business as an operator in the Finishing Department.
“Sometimes I can’t quite believe how much trust the team at Bio-Productions have placed in me,” says Olga. “I’d worked in similar roles back home but here, they gave me the opportunity to prove myself and little by little, I’ve advanced. In return, I’ve worked hard to improve our operations and it really is more than I ever hoped for.”
Last year, Olga took home the ‘Rising Star’ award at the inaugural BHBiz Awards. Her next big step involves taking on a production supervisor role in the Finishing Department, and she will also join Managing Director, Angela Gill, in Amsterdam for this year’s Interclean exhibition.
“We’re immensely proud of Olga,” Angela says. “Over the years, there’s been some stigma attached to workers from outside of the UK but Olga’s story stands testament to the way our European neighbours can really enrich our country and our workplace.
“Her commitment to improving her abilities as well as our production line has been truly inspirational. I feel privileged to have seen Olga flourish over the past decade and I’m sure she’ll continue to impress for many years to come.”