We’re supporting Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2021, co-ordinated by Skills Development Scotland, to demonstrate the value apprenticeships bring to individuals, employers and the economy.
This year’s theme is Business Backing Talent, with the aim to demonstrate how businesses benefit when they back talent through apprenticeships.
Businesses have adapted to challenging times. Employers and learning providers have innovated so apprentices can learn, achieve and progress. While businesses taking on apprentices have developed new and safe ways to recruit in their commitment to backing talent.
The week highlights the range of support available to employers to help them take on an apprentice and opportunities for individuals to progress through Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships.
We’ll also be sharing the personal experiences of some of our own apprentices so you can learn first hand what it’s like to earn and learn.
Andrew Latto, Kingdom’s Interim Director of HR said, “We are passionate about supporting young people at the start of their careers. Through the Apprenticeship and Kingdom Trainee Programme, we offer opportunities across our business every year. The programme provides opportunities for young people in our communities and is a major part of our workforce and succession plans. Every person who has taken part in our trainee programme has gone on to a positive employment destination whether that’s with us or another organisation.”
Bill Banks, Kingdom Group Chief Executive added, “Some years ago we recognised that people under 30 years old were disproportionately represented within our workforce. We were promoting a learning and development culture within the organisation at the time and although our staff teams do a great job, some had been in their posts for many years and were content with their job and perhaps lacked a bit of ambition to progress their career. This was fine and we respect individuals personal circumstances, however it meant it could have an impact in terms of our succession planning arrangements. Through introducing the trainee programme we have been able to plan for the future and provide training and employment opportunities across a range of professions and areas of work for younger people. The trainee programme, along with our ongoing commitment to recruit apprentices, has helped allow us to build our own talent pool and through investing in younger people we are helping to develop our future leaders.”
Find out more about Scottish Apprenticeships and the support available to get involved at apprenticeships.scot
Ryan Lawson is an Apprentice Joiner who started his apprenticeship with Kingdom on 19th October 2020 and explains how coronavirus impacted the recruitment process, why he wanted to pursue an apprenticeship in joinery, and why Kingdom was his employer of choice.
“The recruitment process was much different to beforehand due to covid 19, however Kingdom Housing did not let this be a disadvantage. The recruitment process was quick in general from applying for the apprenticeship to being told I had been successful.
The interview was the main difference this year due to covid 19. The interview was through a Teams meeting however this still gave me a good chance to present myself just as well as if the meeting was face to face. I would not let that put you off when applying for an apprenticeship as the Team’s meeting was not bad and I was still able to sell myself and my qualifications clearly.
I wanted to join a big organisation such as Kingdom as I will learn from great tradesmen and be part of a huge team. Working for a reputable company has lots of benefits such as they put you through college to get the qualifications required to be a time served fully qualified joiner. I have also been well looked after joining a team like Kingdom from workwear to tools and being welcomed by everyone.
I knew that I wanted to be a joiner from school. It wasn’t something that I just fell back on because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I enjoyed woodwork in school and won a competition run by MGM timber to design and manufacture a business card holder. Several schools took part. Myself and 3 other school friends won the competition resulting in winning £500 for our school. From here I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in joinery. I then moved onto college to do a construction course that confirmed that it’s the industry I wanted to be in, so I started applying for apprenticeships.
What is great about working as an apprentice is you are earning a decent salary to learn off your journeyman and fellow colleagues and gaining a SVQ level 6 in carpentry and joinery that your lecturers help you achieve over a course of 4 years. This will help you pursue a time served qualified job role in the future or right away once achieving the qualifications.
I have received lots of support being an apprentice mainly from my journeyman and other colleagues as well as Human Resources and the staff in the managerial role. I have also received help from Skills Development Scotland and lecturers telling me about the qualification I will receive and the work I will be taking part in. This helped me to know what’s ahead for the future.”
Erin Duffy is an Apprentice Painter who started her apprenticeship with Kingdom on 1st December 2017. Today Erin tells us about the interview process, why she chose the trade she did and the benefits of becoming an apprentice.
What was the recruitment process like?
“The recruitment process was simple and quick. Once I had applied for the job I heard back about the interview process quickly. I first had to sit an aptitude test shortly after applying for the job, then once I found out I had passed the aptitude test process, I received a date for the interview. The interview was not as scary as I imagined as interviews are usually daunting.The interviewers made me feel relaxed from the beginning, it was also informative as I had learned a bit more about the company that I didn’t know before.”
Why did you want to join Kingdom?
“I was a tenant before I started working so I already had an idea of how much of a reputable company Kingdom was. Once I had left college I was looking for a good and reliable company to work for so I could complete my four year apprenticeship and had heard about good experiences of working at Kingdom.”
Why did you want to become a painter and decorator?
“From a young age I had always been interested in art at some way and always knew I wanted a hands on, physical job. During school my favourite subject was woodwork so I then decided to study construction at college, during this time I had been able to have a go at joinery, bricklaying, plumbing and painting and decorating, I then decided painting and decorating is what i enjoyed the most and knew that is what I what I wanted to pursue a career in.”
What’s it like to work in a male dominated environment?
“At first entering a male dominated work environment was scary and pretty daunting. During college I luckily wasn’t the only female so I did have someone going through the same as I was. Starting kingdom I was the only female in the team so I wasn’t sure how the men would take to me, but I fit in very quickly and all the men accepted me right into the team. Nearly 4 years later I get on great with everybody, don’t get treated any differently, and I’m seen as an equal.”
What is great about working as an apprentice and what support did you receive?
“Being an apprentice is great as I’m still learning everyday while working towards my qualification. It also means I can still attend college to learn things related to scaffolding, colours and technical drawing which I may never have learned had I not received this opportunity. I receive support from my co-workers and also have progress reviews every three months from my college reviewer.”
What qualification will you achieve?
“Once I have completed my four years I will be a City and Guilds qualified painter and decorator.”
What are the benefits of becoming an apprentice?
“The benefits of being an apprentice are you have a wide variety of learning, as you get to learn on the job from time served tradesmen and also get to learn at the college. You are constantly learning and have time to learn the job properly and also will be completing it with the qualifications necessary.”
Mike Hargreaves is Kingdom’s Repair Services Team Leader and is undertaking a Graduate Apprenticeship. Mike explains his career with Kingdom to date, and why he decided to pursue an apprenticeship.
“I have been with Kingdom Housing for 15 years now, where I started as a joiner. Five years ago the opportunity came along to temporarily come off the tools and look after the stores due to the stores person being long term sick. I was hesitant in doing this at first as I had no ambition to be in the office at all. I did this for around six months and really enjoyed it and I made it my own.
The position was made permanent and this developed to be a part of the maintenance team. This opened another door for me being part Maintenance Officer and part Stores Person. This is when I did a HNC in construction Management, once I completed this course, I went straight into a HND in Construction Management and I was appointed as The Repairs Team Leader.
Doing these courses coincided with the progress in my career. Being supported by Kingdom throughout the process has inspired me to continue into the Post Graduate Apprenticeship in Construction Management.
This apprenticeship may open up new doors for me in the future but if not I will have furthered my knowledge and experience which can only be a bonus. Without the support of Kingdom, none of this wouldn’t have been possible.”
Kirsty Stott is an Asset Officer at Kingdom and has been with the organisation since 2017. Kirsty is completing a Graduate Apprenticeship which means she’s able to combine a full time job with a degree course at Heriot-Watt University. Kirsty explains why Kingdom was an employer of choice for her and why she decided to undertake a Graduate Apprenticeship.
“I had left school not knowing what I was wanting to do as a career or job. I went to college to do civil engineering as it was a course that interested me and linked to a class I did at school. While undertaking the course I realised that I liked learning about buildings, the make up of how to build a house and what services are required to make it habitable.
I had a few friends already working in Kingdom and when the Technical Services Traineeship came up, I knew it would be a great place to work with lots of opportunities to learn.
Once I completed my HNC Quantity Surveying course and my traineeship was coming to an end a further opportunity arose to allow me to get a Degree in Construction and the Built Environment.
As a full time employee it was not common for day release to be approved but with support from my Manager and Director this was agreed and is providing me with more knowledge and experience to incorporate into my role.”