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TEAM OF YOUNG APPRENTICES HELPS TO SAFEGUARD FUTURE OF PLUMBING SUPPLIES COMPANY

TEAM OF YOUNG APPRENTICES HELPS TO SAFEGUARD FUTURE OF PLUMBING SUPPLIES COMPANY

One of the country’s biggest distributors of plumbing and heating supplies has turned to Apprenticeships to help safeguard its future and create new growth.

As the number of young people out of work in Britain has hit a record high, Wolseley UK has taken on 25 apprentices in its Plumb Center business in recent months in a bid to boost its ranks and invest in young talent.

The company, which has more than 500 Plumb Centers across the UK and has its headquarters in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, has hired the young trainees through the Customer Service Apprenticeship programme, with assistance from national training provider Intraining.

Working with a team of Intraining assessors, the company is providing nationally-recognised work-based training and qualifications to the apprentices, who are able to earn while they learn.

Frank Clayton, the company’s Operations Training Manager, said Wolseley decided to take the Apprenticeship route because it wanted to employ young, enthusiastic people who could be trained and educated the Wolseley way.

He said: “The Apprenticeship programme has given us the opportunity to bring people in with the right attitude, who are willing to learn and train with us. We believe this is very much the model for successful employment.

“The apprentices are developing skills that benefit not only themselves, but also the business. They work at ground level, receiving deliveries of goods and talking to customers. They are developing an excellent understanding of customer service and what the business needs and I know they will do good things for us.

“We are simply developing our talent with a view that in five years’ time these young people will be in senior positions in the company, making decisions and perhaps taking charge.”

Intraining is one of the nation’s leading Apprenticeship providers. It offers a free recruitment and matching service to make sure businesses have the right candidates for their needs, and then works with both the employer and learner to complete the training.

Wolseley UK decided to develop an Apprenticeship programmes during the economic downturn as part of its preparations for the future, believing that high quality staff deliver great customer service, which in turn generates greater profits.

Frank added: “We approached a number of different providers, but the Intraining package was just right. Intraining pre-screened the candidates to make sure they suited our needs, and provided us with high quality candidates for interview. It saved us a lot of time.”

Apprentice Michael McCann, 19, from Killamarsh, in north east Derbyshire, has worked at the Wolseley Plumb Center in Sheffield for ten months.

He said: “I feel really fortunate to have been taken on as an apprentice by Wolseley and am now almost halfway through a two-year Apprenticeship in Customer Services.

“The first four months I worked in the warehouse, taking supplies in, sorting deliveries and dealing with orders, and now I’m working with customers in the trade centre and on the customer services desk.

“I love my job and actually look forward to coming into work every day. I feel as though I have already learned so much, and am much more confident in dealing with customers. I feel extremely lucky and would recommend an Apprenticeship to anyone.”

Andy Hall, Intraining’s National Apprenticeship Hub Manager, said Wolseley UK was testament to how well Apprenticeships could work.

“Wolseley UK has done tremendously well to embrace the Apprenticeship programme, taking on so many talented young trainees and making it work for both them and the company,” said Andy.

“The apprentices are receiving excellent on-the-job training that will set them up for life, while Wolseley has received an injection of enthusiasm, dedication and fresh ideas that will bring dividends to its business growth plans in the future.”

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