Apprentice success for Kier
Published by Elizabeth Pokorny for Kier Services in Education
Kier apprentices learning a trade in Barnsley
Kier continues commitment to providing on-the-job training
Leading repairs and maintenance provider, Kier, is working to reduce unemployment across the UK as it continues its commitment to provide valuable opportunities for youngsters to gain vital on-the-job experience. Kier continues its company-wide focus that has seen apprentices join across its contract areas in full-time positions to develop skills including plumbing and plastering as well as administrative abilities.
As a recognised National Skills Academy for construction, Kier Stoke is serious about investing in the future of its local community and hopes to have supported 200 apprentices within four years, after reaching 80 in two years. Despite the tough economic climate, it has recognised that training is imperative to support future growth and provide the skills needed for a strong construction industry.
Working 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. Kier Stoke recently took on five local apprentices, continuing to recognise the importance of employing local labour whilst 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 regional managing director for maintenance, David Mawson said: “As a business we recognise the importance of training to support future growth within each contract area, as well as supplying the skills needed to develop the future UK construction industry. Kier remains committed to providing excellent apprenticeship opportunities and helping young people develop careers in many different construction trades.”
The end of 2011 saw 17 new apprentices join Kier Sheffield in a scheme designed to give trainees a flavour of all aspects of the business while working towards a full apprenticeship qualification in their chosen trade. In Boston, Kier recruited four apprentices to work across a number of professional trades covering repairs and maintenance contracts with Longhurst and Havelok Homes and Boston Mayflower. The apprentices are gaining on-site experience, as well as attending day or block release training at Boston or Doncaster Colleges.
Following the completion of a placement with Kier in Boston, Tish Dixon secured a permanent full-time post as administrative assistant and now helps to schedule work and deal with customers. Tish said: “I really enjoy my job and working with the team at Kier. Before my placement with Kier I was struggling to find employment that was mentally stimulating and paid well and paying rent and bills had started to become an issue. Since securing the full-time role I feel my confidence has grown tremendously and I’ve gained valuable transferable skills.”
In Islington Kier currently employs 13 apprentices. Every year the company aims to take on a number of young people on apprenticeships, many of whom join after completing Kier’s First Start course. First Start targets youngsters aged 16 to 18 to become involved in new employment opportunities.
Recently, six of the Islington apprentices went on to secure full-time jobs with Kier following the completion of either a three or four-year-long apprenticeship with the repairs and maintenance team. Aged between 19 and 27, the apprentices have been appointed to work across a number of professional trades.
In North Tyneside, four new apprentices have joined to work alongside the repairs and maintenance team, following on from the recent recruitment of six administrative apprentices. The new starters, who are aged between 16 and 17 and all come from the local area, will work alongside dedicated mentors while carrying out NVQ qualifications with leading training provider JTL and Newcastle College.
Kier North Tyneside recently formed a contract agreement with JTL to provide all gas trainees access to carry out their appliances assessments at Kier’s brand new gas assessment centre in Killingworth, which provides state-of-the-art gas training facilities to the whole of the north-east.
The contract, which began in September, will run for a year and will see trainees carrying out training modules including CCN1 (core safety), CPA1 (combustion performance analyser) and appliance training based on individual requirements. Appliance training can include HTR1 (fires and space heaters), CKR1 (cookers), CENWAT1 (central heating boilers and water heaters) and DAH1 (domestic air heater).