THE sector skills council and industry training board for the construction industry, CITB-ConstructionSkills, is urging SMEs in the NorthEast to consider the business benefits of taking on an apprentice.
And it is sending out a clear message – recruiting talent now is essential if we are to avoid the skills shortages the industry has seen in the past.
Ezee Scaffolding Ltd, based in North Tyneside, has not only continued to invest in its existing staff, it has also expanded its workforce, strengthening its market position in advance of the upturn.
Managing director Neil Allan oversees 40 employees and five CITB-ConstructionSkills apprentices and believes that young trainees not only help with the business at the moment, but help shape its future.
He said: “We want to be able to mould them to be our future. We are an innovative company wanting to work with innovative people who can help bring this ethos forward.
“We feel that apprentices bring something fresh to the industry and enhance our company; they’re our future. In five years’ time they will be our managers and our supervisors.”
Neil ensures that his workforce get good quality training, as normal, in key areas that will benefit the business.
He said: “We invest in training quite heavily. I believe that investing in training your workforce will give you a return.
“It is seen as a key part of our business. You need to consider what your business will get out of it but you also need to make some sort of investment; not everything is for free. It teaches everyone new skills, which in turn could go on to help us win more work.”
Although Neil has seen the downturn’s effects on Ezee Scaffolding Ltd, he acknowledges that the key is to keep looking forward.
He added: “There have been some ups and downs, including quieter periods but it’s all about planning ahead. We’re fortunate not to have had to lay anyone off.”
Neil is positive about the future of Ezee Scaffolding Ltd because his workforce is training in areas that will benefit his business.
“We see trainees as our next generation,” he said. “We’re happy to invest in training, because the way we see it is if we enhance their skills, they will enhance our company, simple as that.”
With 40 years of experience in the industry, CITB-ConstructionSkills is the UK’s largest supplier of construction apprentices. Some 81% of CITB-ConstructionSkills apprentices finish their apprenticeship, and employers and apprentices will be supported by a dedicated apprenticeship officer.
With advisors based around the UK, CITB-ConstructionSkills provides training advice, products and services, including grants, to help construction firms of all sizes.
CITB-ConstructionSkills is working to deliver a safe, professional and fully-qualified construction workforce. Take advantage to support you and your business, particularly during the downturn, and don’t miss out on opportunities to help your company grow.
For more information on how CITB-ConstructionSkills can help your business grow, go to www.cskills.org