Each year National Apprenticeship Week celebrates the contribution of young people to the future skills Britain needs, and the role of employers in providing opportunities for them to achieve their full potential. This year, that focus has mattered more than ever, as we look forward to recovery from the pandemic and consider the need to invest in people and skills like never before.
Millcroft has a long and successful track record of nurturing a sustainable and highly-skilled team through apprenticeships. For us, apprenticeships are an integral part of our recruitment and succession planning strategy, alongside ongoing training and personnel development throughout each employee’s tenure with the company.
We have apprentices and former apprentices across the business. While much of our requirement is for scaffolders on site, we have also used the apprenticeship model in our estimating, design and admin departments. Working with training providers and leveraging our in-house training facilities, we can provide both formal training and on-the-job experience and mentoring for apprentices, enabling them to apply their learning from day one and experience a rewarding route into a great career.
Traditionally, apprentices are recruited straight from school or college, but we have found that apprenticeships are also a great route into the scaffolding sector for career changers too. As a result, we have no hard and fast rules about who can apply to be an apprentice with us; what we’re looking for across all roles is a good work ethic, a willingness to learn and genuine interest in building a career with Millcroft. Academic qualifications are less important, particularly on site, where common sense, adaptability and teamwork are critical, alongside good safety behaviours and a hard-working approach.
The younger generation has been particularly disadvantaged by the pandemic and many companies have put their recruitment plans on hold, but we believe apprenticeships and generating opportunities for young people continues to be an important investment in our business and our industry. We have recently agreed to train 12 young people under the Government’s COVID-19 response Kick Start scheme, with the first six being recruited in 2021. This initiative will dovetail with our existing experience of delivering apprenticeship programmes and continues our commitment to bringing fresh talent into the company and the scaffolding sector.
Apprenticeships also mean that we can offer every employee the opportunity to grow within the company. As we bring in new people in at a trainee level, existing members of the team have the opportunity to step up as mentors and add to their own professional training. It’s a strategy of investing in people and providing career opportunities that has paid dividends for Millcroft: unlike many companies in the scaffolding sector, we have an excellent staff retention record and our clients really value the continuity and experience our team offers them. It also means we have a flow of skills and experience at all levels to maintain our capacity and service levels as older members of the team retire.
As National Apprenticeship Week draws to a close for another year, we’re proud of the achievements of all of our apprentices down the years and of the benefits apprenticeships have brought to the company and the construction sector.