07 Mar National Apprenticeship Week 2019
This year at Platts, we’re celebrating National Apprenticeship Week with our 3 apprentices, and 5 ‘graduate’ apprentices (now fully-qualified) who make up our ‘almost-60’ strong workforce. As we rapidly grow, apprentices are an important and valued part of our HR strategy, and a training avenue Platts will continue to use well into the future.
Why not read more about the experiences of some of our current staff who are completing their apprenticeships below- as reported by Holly Davies (Apprentice Digital Marketing Assistant).
“Here at Platts, we believe that apprenticeships are a great way to help young people get their career off to a great start- gaining knowledge, experience and qualifications, whilst working. Over recent years, Platts have offered apprenticeships to those within our Production, Garage, and Office Teams, meaning that there are several young people learning new skills across the company at any one time.
Apprenticeships mean that the employee can attend college, or work towards a qualification whilst working on the job- which can be greatly beneficial to the individual- as well as the employer, who develops staff with up to date skills and industry knowledge.
Employer of Apprentice of the Year 2018
Apprenticeships have opened many opportunities for those within Platts – and it’s not just of benefit to the employees! Platts have given young people the chance to begin their career whilst studying- and in return, employees are making positive changes within their roles.
One of those, is Ross Thedens, who joined Platts early 2018 as an Apprentice Production Operative, studying Warehousing at local college, Coleg Cambria. He’s part of the Platts Production Team, who operates 7 days a week, day and night- manufacturing specialist Animal Bedding. Ross’ efforts, ideas and innovation recently led to an improvement which increased production by 30%.
The improvements Ross made came about through careful study of the timing of an automated form, fill and seal packing line. Ross found improvements could be made to the speed of which an empty bag was presented to the filling head of the machine, this speeded up production by 15%. After further observation and experimenting with the machines program parameters, Ross found that slowing the speed that the finished product was fed to the filling head would allow the product to flow into the bag faster by not choking the filling head. This resulted in a further increase to production of 15%.
Starting the apprenticeship jumpstarted Ross’ career- and has enabled him to become an advocate for knowledge transfer within the company. This demonstrates the commitment that an apprentice can have for the company that they work for and how they, just like other experienced employees, bring their own fresh ideas, fuelling innovation and business growth.
Ross has benefitted from in house training – in addition to his course with local college- Coleg Cambria. The skills he’s learned have already benefitted him greatly within his role.
Following a nomination by Management for the Local Chamber of Commerce ‘Apprentice of the Year Award’- in November the company celebrated Ross’ success alongside colleagues, when he was announced the Winner at the WCNW Annual Awards Evening. Platts are proud to employ the North Wales & West Cheshire Apprentice of the Year 2018!
Not just “Vocational” …
Holly Davies is currently undertaking a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship with the Institute of Digital Marketing and discusses why she feels applying for the role was the best option for her. It was a “no-brainer for her to join the company on an apprenticeship scheme”. Here’s what she had to say:
“Many young people feel pressured when leaving school to head straight to college, then onto university, as they often feel that this is the only way to find success in a career. This was what I had thought too, until I got offered my current role.
I went straight from school to college, studying subjects which I didn’t have a huge amount of interest in, but still got good grades. When the time came around to apply for university, I still wasn’t sure on what I wanted to do in the future but still applied for university and had offers from all my choices, including Aberystwyth. With not being sure on the career path I wanted to take, I decided that I would take a year out to consider whether university would be the right choice for me.
After deciding I didn’t want to head to university, I began looking for a full-time job that would allow me to gain skills within a different field of work. I initially applied and was interviewed for a Telesales Role but was offered the opportunity to enrol on a Digital Marketing Course- since I already had some relevant skills and knowledge from English and Media Studies.
I jumped at the opportunity and started last November. So far, it has been a fantastic experience and I’m enjoying learning new things. I am currently enrolled with the Digital Marketing Institute and hope to receive my qualification this May. I complete my studying within working hours and from the office, as well as being able to apply this knowledge to my work throughout the day.
I’ve been able to attend Digital Marketing Events, allowing me to gain understanding of other businesses and how they manage their digital marketing. I think it’s great to be able to go and network- getting inspiration from others and making valuable connections.
My apprenticeship has and will lead me to gain the experience I need to grow in my career, as working within the office with my Marketing Manager, and doing my Digital Marketing Course allows me to gain and share the knowledge I’m gaining to those within my work place.”
Platts Commercial Services
As the business thrives, new roles are created. In 2016, Platts Commercial Services was born- a HGV Garage and VOSA Approved Testing Facility predominantly to maintain and service Platts’ own fleet of 20 vehicles and 140 trailers- and now open for 3rd party work. Half of the Garage Staff are currently enrolled on apprenticeship programmes.
Ethan McDermott is the most recent recruit, joining this February as Fabrication & Welding Apprentice. Studying Level 2 Fabrication and Welding at our partner College, Coleg Cambria. He opted for an apprenticeship role, as it enables him to be able to work, learn and earn at the same time. “It allows young people to get some money behind them and settling into full time work at an earlier age than those who go to University, as well as being able to attend college and learn new skills within the trade” he says.
Ethan attends college weekly on day-release, allowing him to be around others his age and to speak to with any questions or problems, as well gaining the extra knowledge and experiences from those within the trade. So far, his role includes fixing, fabricating and welding any defects on the trailers that go into the garage.
Alex Vine is working towards his Level 2 Qualification in Mechanics. He decided to do an apprenticeship as he already had some mechanical knowledge that he wanted to put it to the test within a working environment. With experience working with cars for several years, he was familiar with mechanics when he first started at Platts. Alex describes his role as inspecting, servicing and carrying out any maintenance on the Platts fleet – and more.
Alex is supervised and mentored by Connor Pugh – who joined Platts 4 years ago as an apprentice himself- and is now fully qualified and managing other staff. This structure allows apprentices to see a clear career path and progression set out in front of them- and inspires commitment.
Alex discusses the new skills he’s learned so far, and not only within mechanics. “My communication and teamwork skills have improved greatly, due to the working environment and being taught new skills by both the qualified mechanic I work and my tutor in college.” He’s looking forward to getting more hands on within his role during the coming months and learning more key skills for his career and hopes to complete his apprenticeship and become a full-time qualified mechanic with Platts.
Rob Wilson, HR & Health and Safety Manager at Platts, describes apprenticeships as being a great way to kick-start youth employment within the community, which results in the direct benefits of delivering on-the-job training and development. Coupled with the cost effectiveness of employing apprentices as opposed to already skilled staff and having access to government apprenticeship grants available makes apprenticeships affordable to growing firms.
“Companies can be confident that employees on apprenticeship programmes are learning modern techniques within the trade, enabling them to use the skills within the work place and educating existing employees with the up-to-date knowledge and new technology. Apprenticeships also provide an opportunity to train customised skill sets- making apprentices flexible to the often uniquely complex needs of an individual business. On a whole, apprenticeships are a ‘win-win’ for both the employer and apprentice and offer a great opportunity to improve business needs.”