Apprentices soar

Eleven aspiring joiners will take their places on the CR Smith apprenticeship scheme this month, which has been developed by the company and Fife College to meet the skills required by the home improvement business.

Unlike traditional apprenticeships, these apprentice joiners attend classes in the evenings, which are delivered by Fife College. This, the company said, gives them more quality time on the job, learning from experienced tradespeople, and gaining the skills they need to become an integral part of the workforce.

The CR Smith apprenticeship programme, which is aligned to City and Guilds accreditation, represents an investment of more than £100,000 over the past three years by the firm. A workshop has been built for the apprentices and has all the facilities required to carry out the training modules.

The new recruits are the second intake of apprentices onto this programme; the first class of ten have completed their current studies and are working as joiners.

Ian Macfarlane, managing director at CR Smith, has been the driving force behind the apprenticeship programme.

“Investment in our people is essential and creating our own customised apprenticeship programme, as well as addressing a potential skill shortage, demonstrates our ongoing commitment to grow the business through young people,” he said. “The delivery of many existing apprenticeship programmes was not entirely practical for our business, therefore we spent time with Fife College creating a more sustainable programme that works for us.

“It covers all the essential joinery skills and also includes the additional craftsmanship we need for our luxury hardwood internal finishes. The course also puts a lot of emphasis on developing the apprentices with a wider range of skills that we hope will give them a great start to their career.”

James and Shane David have completed the CR Smith apprenticeship, and the two brothers from Dunfermline, now fully qualified, are working together as a squad. They said that the scheme required a lot of commitment, but was definitely worth it in the end as they both have families and wanted to better themselves so they could best provide for them.