News Ticker

Passion in Apprenticeships

By Dave Mills, Director Business Development, Lyons & Annoot

Apprenticeships are in the process of changing, and with organisations like IfATE (Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education) leading the charge we are seeing a change in how Apprenticeships are now taking centre stage again. Collaborating with employers to develop and approve apprenticeships and technical qualifications into occupational standards, employers are taking control and showing what industry needs from its teams of today and in the future. We have also seen the change in education plans by the huge push on degree apprenticeships in recent months. I am delighted to have been a small part of the employer representatives to look at the brickwork occupational standards as part of The Association of Brickwork Contractors.

What about my own passion on apprentices and apprenticeships? Well firstly its not my background. I did not go to a school that supported apprenticeships and apprenticeships were never mentioned my entire time in school. The end goal was that you would finish school as a well developed all round young man, it was an all-boys school so this made sense, and would end up in university. I did not finish my course, I left after two years without qualifications, as I was offered the job I wanted to do anyway. But would an apprenticeship have worked for me better- most definitely.

I cannot put a date on when this massive passion for Apprenticeships hit me, but I do find it enthralling and I love seeing people succeed. As a business at Lyons & Annoot Apprenticeships have always been close to the heart of what we do, since the early 1980s. We have always taken on apprentices in brickwork and to see many who started as apprentices within the firm still within the firm is always fulfilling.

I think some of my personal passion on apprenticeships came from negativity in our industry. Let me explain- how often do you read something on young people at work and it says, ‘young people don’t want to work,’ or hear somebody in Construction say ‘The CITB are not providing the apprentices we need.’ The answer is all too often. A generalised statement on people and their work ethic, or Industry bodies expected to do all the work as an excuse for not progressing with training in one’s own organisation, is often used by those who want their voices heard, and unfortunately negativity always get more ‘press’ than positivity.

We decided as a business to develop our apprenticeship scheme more to buck this trend and ensure as a business at Lyons & Annoot we continued to harness the huge amount of potential out there for our own needs. We wanted to put the responsibility on ourselves in success or failure, in continuing to ensure that we did all possible to take on apprentices, provide them with as much as possible in regards opportunities and to aim for a 100% completion rate. Not look at how many apprentices started each year- we aim for 6- but how many qualified. Taking on fifty apprentices when you only have forty members of staff will not work as you do not have enough people to give them the time, mentorship and help that they will need. Take on less and qualify more. Look at what number of apprentices we can provide our scheme to and take them on and aim to achieve. The three Directors of the Business as well as all of the staff are fully supportive of all the efforts that we make as it is second nature to the business as it has been instilled as part of the values of the business.

For me, it is thrilling to see the start of the Personal Statements coming in each year from people who want to join our Apprenticeship Scheme, who have made the effort to say I want to train and learn and work with Lyons & Annoot. To watch the interview process and see the people find out exactly about our scheme, MentorMe with Keyfix and Keystone Lintels. To see them progress on the scheme and qualify, and from there to see them continue working on our sites and continue training and progressing in their careers.

To receive a text over Christmas from three of our apprentices who had recently done their End Point Assessments after receiving their results and wanting to let us know that they qualified is fulfilling, and long may it continue. Our passion as a business only gets more every day.