With local sustainability and workforce development as a core policy, Kier Stoke has announced it has taken on over 80 apprentices and placed them throughout its supply chain to complete apprenticeships in just two years. By July, many of the youngsters, aged 18 to 24, will be completing their training and fully qualified thanks to the scheme.
As a recognised National Skills Academy for construction, Kier Stoke, a division of Kier Building Maintenance, is serious about investing in the future of its local community and hopes to have supported 200 apprentices by the end of the project in four years’ time. Despite the tough economic climate, the building maintenance company recognises training is imperative to support future growth and providing the skills needed to provide a strong construction industry.
Working together with PM Training, a local social enterprise training provider, Kier Stoke is able to offer a period of work experience through its supply chain of over 60 businesses which could then be extended into an apprenticeship offer. As a business, Kier Stoke recognises the importance of employing local labour, upskilling its workforce and working closely with schools to give the students a ‘heads-up’ in terms of career choices in construction for both boys and girls.
Kier Building Maintenance national corporate and social responsibility co-ordinator, Helen Walters, said: “We aim to support the local Stoke economy and contribute towards local regeneration targets. One company in our supply chain took on 15 apprentices, which shows tremendous support in the scheme. This valuable experience will help participants become more employable and gives them hands-on practise to gain knowledge while carrying out real-life tasks. Many of the youngsters were able to accompany skilled workers out on the road who could mentor and demonstrate skills and knowledge while carrying out the work.
“Stoke-on-Trent has one of the lowest proportions of people in employment (full, part-time and self-employed) in England and Wales and the 70th highest rate of unemployment. We hope Kier Stoke can contribute to rectifying this situation for present and future generations by providing employment and training.”
Kier Stoke has worked closely with one of its supply chain partners, Holdcroft Heating and Gas Fitting Ltd, through the apprenticeship scheme. After a history of successful apprenticeships, the business took on local lad Joshua Jones as a gas engineer apprentice earlier this year.
Holdcroft Heating and Gas Fitting Ltd director, Tina Holdcroft, said: “We’ve been delighted with Joshua’s enthusiasm, passion to learn and hard working nature. We are committed to offering as much work experience as possible to the teenagers within our local area and this scheme between Kier Stoke and PM Training makes it easy to organise. We’ve had great experiences in the past with many of our apprentices still working for us now.”