Martyn Industrials turned to Cumbria Chamber of Commerce’s new apprenticeship brokerage service when attempts to recruit by conventional routes came to nothing.
The business at Durranhill Industrial Estate, Carlisle, supplies flooring and interiors for buses, coaches, ambulances and minibuses.
Managing director Gordon Keen said: “We’d just invested in a £250,000 CNC cutting machine and decided we would take someone else on.
“We advertised in the paper and through the JobCentre but unfortunately none of the people who responded had the skills we required. It wasn’t just a warehousing role. It involved running machinery, CAD and adding value.
“We wanted somebody who wasn’t imbued with bad habits and thought that an apprentice might be the way to go, someone we could train and mould.
“But we weren’t sure how to go about it so contacted the Chamber of Commerce. Jon Power, the workforce development services manager there, put us in touch with [training provider] Gen2.
“They interviewed us to find out what we needed and found three people who might be suitable. We interviewed two and took one on.”
The new apprentice is Kile Cairns, 18, who lives in Harraby, Carlisle, just a few hundred yards from Martyn Industrials’ premises.
After leaving school, he had worked as a labourer for a building firm, alongside his father who is a joiner.
He started at Martyn Industrials at the beginning of February on a one-year apprenticeship in warehousing and logistics, combining on-the-job experience with day release at Gen2.
Gen2’s tuition will cover employment rights and responsibilities, personnel learning, thinking skills and help to improve his maths and English.
Martyn Industrials had used Gen2 previously as a training provider, and was more than happy to deal with the organisation again.
To find out more about about the Chamber’s apprenticeship brokerage service, contact Lesley Robinson on 0845 226 00 40 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Keen said: “We have seven staff now including Kile but had never recruited an apprentice before.
There wasn’t anything about the process that wasn’t straightforward and Gen2 plan the training for us.
“Because Martyn Industrials has fewer than 50 employees and hasn’t recruited an apprentice in the last 12 months – Kile is its first – the company is eligible for a £1,500 grant towards his wage costs and, as with all apprenticeships, the Government pays for training.
Mr Keen added: “It’s early days but as long as we get what we want, and Kile gets what he needs, then it should work well. We’d consider it again.
“Beeby Bell, quality and compliance manager at Gen2, explained how the brokerage system works. Once Cumbria Chamber of Commerce referred Martyn Industrials’ enquiry, Gen2 swung into action.
He said: “We aptitude test and interview a bank of learners and then match them to clients’ needs when enquiries come in. If we don’t have anybody suitable on our books, we advertise locally on social media to find someone.”