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HPM-04-APR-2016

Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com TRAINING/TECHNICAL Celebrating excellence in youngsters Jon Graham, chief executive at JTL, talks up the value of apprenticeships, explains more about its Ambassador programme and reveals two of the winners at the national awards... We have just seen the success of the 2016 National Apprenticeship Week – held in mid-March – and during that week we have been able to meet a large number of bright young people who are either already convinced they want a career in the heating and plumbing sector, or who are looking for inspiration for a career that they feel might be the way forward for them. It’s very encouraging to find the level of interest in developing a career in this sector, and our own figures show recruitment levels year on year back to the levels pre-2007. We need to contribute to the closing of the skills gap that undoubtedly exists in this area of professional work, caused by the undiluted departure of qualified people as they reached retirement age and left the profession, and the reduced level of recruitment of young people in response to the attitude that was prevalent during the recessionary years, that saw young people encouraged to enter university, whether it was the right route for them or not. Government policy is very supportive of apprenticeships and we understand why. For every £1 of investment made in the apprenticeship scheme in the UK, the country, according to official statistics, sees around £18 in value returned to the economy. APPRENTICESHIPS TARRED Sadly, in 2015 we saw some national news stories that questioned the quality of the apprenticeships on offer in the UK and as usual some of the national media were quick to dream up headlines that tarred all apprenticeships with the same brush – we feel very unfairly. We know that apprenticeships in the building engineering services sector – electrical and heating and plumbing in particular – are of very high quality, and our own rigorously measured outcomes exceed even the industry averages in heating and plumbing – by up to ten per cent per year for those completing their apprenticeships and qualifying to join the workforce. At JTL, we believe that the allocation of a personal training officer to each and every apprentice so they have a mentor to whom they can turn for advice and help at any stage of their apprenticeship makes a huge difference and we know from the employers we work with – well in excess of 3,500 this past year – that they too appreciate the close working relationship they and their apprentices have with our hands-on team. It gives those training officers and the rest of us at JTL huge satisfaction to see these young people WWW.HPMMAG.COM growing as people, developing professional qualities and standards and moving towards making a major contribution to the heating and plumbing sector. We have an Ambassador programme that is now well established, that sets out to raise awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships in our sector among young women who are hugely under-represented in heating and plumbing. Those there are, are often very good at what they do and provide something different for the companies for whom they work and the customers they meet. We now have around 25 young women ambassadors across England and Wales who regularly give talks to girls in schools and colleges, take part in interviews with their local media to spread the word that there is room for and a need for young women in the heating and plumbing sector. We’re very proud to be able to announce that we have extended this approach into the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities by beginning the process of extending our ambassador programme to include these groups. There are many areas of the country and many reasons why we have difficulty recruiting apprentices and trainees from these communities and as with the young women who joined our ambassador programme, we now have the first seven ambassadors who have volunteered to be the face of apprentices and apprenticeships in these communities for us – and we hope to double this number in the months ahead. We’ll keep you up to date with the growth and success of this extension to our ambassador programme. We have recently held the latest in our regular 42 APRIL 2016 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY annual awards in which we recognise the excellence of the young people who are striving to become qualified tradespeople in the heating and plumbing and electrical sectors. We announced our top performers of the year at an impressive ceremony held at Drapers’ Hall in London in front of a range of invited guests, as well as the finalists’ families and employers. It was a stellar event which highlighted exactly how we feel about the young people we help to train. Motivation is one key to success and the potential opportunity to be crowned the top apprentice of the year is a huge spur to many of our apprentices’ levels of achievement. The finalists gathered from across England and Wales to discover who had won trophies, and were all subject to a rigorous selection process. At each stage, they were tested on their practical and theoretical knowledge and interviewed by members of JTL’s senior management team. The plumbing apprentice for 2015 was Curtis Clarke who works for Kier Sheffield. We also run full-time courses for heating and plumbing and the top full time student for 2016 was Ryan Freeman who studied at our Centre of Excellence. We know there are cynical people around who question the value of award schemes, but I can only report on the one we run. It’s a genuine competition. We see incredibly motivated young people and we find it difficult to find the winners – the standards the apprentices exhibit are so high. They are motivated by doing the best they can in their roles. Long may the awards continue and the number of excellent young people with qualifications to their name, like Curtis and Ryan, continue to emerge from JTL apprenticeships. enquiry number 129 For every £1 of investment made in apprentices, the UK sees around £18 in value returned to the economy


HPM-04-APR-2016
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