A flying start

Apprentices are key to Emplas’s long-term growth strategy, the company has reported.

Emplas is working to address the skills deficit through its now established apprenticeship scheme, which has already seen four apprentices successfully graduate into permanent roles within the business.

With a further nine apprentices starting or nearing completion of their training, Emplas’s HR manager Judith Chadwick, said that apprenticeships were critical to the fabricator’s long-term strategy.

“The challenges in recruitment are well documented nationally and also within our own industry,” she said. “There aren’t hundreds of people to choose from with a ready-made skills set. Finding people who fit in with our culture, who have the right attitude and who are able and willing to learn, is much more important to us.”

Emplas apprenticeships are delivered through a mix of on the job and 20% ‘off the job’ training as required by legislation, including college release, assessments and coursework, for a minimum 12 months or longer, depending on the role and training provider.

Current and former apprenticeships have included roles as diverse as HR, IT, marketing, sales co-ordinator, customer service, as well as installation apprenticeships with T&K Home Improvements, Emplas’s retail business.

Julia-Ann Robinson joined T&K as installations co-ordinator, completing her Level two and Level three Business Administration Apprenticeship over the last 18 months.

“Doing an apprenticeship while you’re working, gives you a level of exposure that you just wouldn’t get through classroom-based training,” she said. “I came away with a really full understanding of all of the elements and roles needed to run a successful retail business from sales through to installation, picking up key skills that I continue to use and develop as I move forward in my career.”

According to government figures, employers who have an established apprenticeship programme report that productivity in their workplace improved by 76%. Meanwhile, 75% said that apprenticeships improved the quality of their product or service, alongside other advantages including improved morale and retention.