Coventry tree surgery and arboricultural business Beechwood Trees & Landscapers Ltd, is starting an academy to attract and train new talent as demand for work continues to grow.
The business based on Brinklow Road, provides services including tree surgery, site clearance, stump removal, and machinery hire to clients in the public and private sectors, including Coventry City Council.
As it emerged out of the pandemic, Beechwood saw demand for its services increase significantly, and new environmental innovations have further bolstered its income.
Managing Director Simon Rotheram, who founded the business in 1998, said he is able to take on up to ten new members of staff thanks to this success, but finding them and keeping them was proving difficult.
He said: “Like lots of businesses, we found it difficult during the pandemic. We usually would send our workers on site in teams of three, but restrictions meant it had to be one staff member per vehicle, which massively increased our costs.
“But once restrictions started to ease and projects were able to move forward at a faster pace, demand came back in a big way. By September, we were booked up until Christmas with jobs.
“We’re in a great position, but our problem is that we are limited by the number of staff members on our books. And finding talent, like in a lot of industries at the moment, is difficult. Some look to go self-employed, while others start and find the work is too physically demanding.
“One idea we had was starting an academy for those who are looking to get into our line of work. We’d provide quality training and a clear progression pathway so new staff can see where they can get to if they stay with us.
“Ultimately, we want to make Beechwood a really attractive place to work. It’s not easy work, but we want to show that it can be a great job with great benefits if you can handle the physical side of things.”
Simon was visited on site by Tom Mongan, president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, along with Hazel Pilling, Membership Manager at the Chamber.
They listened to Simon’s concerns around hiring new talent, as well as its drive to make the business greener.
For example, Beechwood recently started using an innovative woodchipper which converts waste wood from sites into fine biomass for fuel, which it can then sell to other businesses.
It is now a key part of their income stream, and Simon said he wanted to be proactive around the issue as many clients are looking for contractors to have green credentials in the tendering process.
Tom said: “The success of Beechwood post-pandemic and its forward-thinking approach to green issues shows it has great potential, but finding the staff has proven to be a sticking point.
“We told him about the FinditinCW platform, which enables businesses in our region to advertise their services and find new suppliers, and also told him about the government’s Kickstart scheme which gets 18 to 24-year-olds into work, as initial ways to get the ball rolling in finding new staff.”