Equine business forges a strong pipeline of talent for the future

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In 2010 Tim and Jayne Whittington began building their business, The Forge, a remedial shoeing unit and farrier training centre at Inkberrow in Worcestershire.

Tim is a qualified farrier and Jayne, an amateur showjumper. The couple started from scratch, living in caravans as they built the business up, and were delighted when Tim’s son Alex said he wanted to be a farrier.

It took Alex four years, training alongside his father and studying at Moreton Morrell College, part of Warwickshire College Group, which offers students the opportunity to study land-based skills on a working commercial farm.

After Alex graduated, along came Joe Hosie from Wrexham, who also wanted to become a farrier, and the Whittingtons took on their second apprentice.

“The difference in our rural sector is that our apprentices live with us, so we are not only responsible for their training, but helping them develop as young adults as well,” pointed out Jayne. “We even have to get them through their driving tests, as well as their farrier exams.

“It’s also as important for farriers to know how to communicate well, as it is for them to know their trade. They will work for those who ride as a career, as well as owners whose much-loved horses live in fields next to their home. And we have to work with vets, and in race yards.”

Joe proved to be a natural, winning a double honours. He’s since moved into a house in the village and continues to work at The Forge.

And that was it, thought the Whittingtons. As a small employer they’d done their bit in skilling up the next generation. But last year they agreed to take on another, and now have Charlie training with Tim and Moreton Morrell College as a farrier.

“He didn’t enjoy his previous apprenticeship, so we took him on,” said Jayne. “Tim is a fantastic tutor and Charlie is doing really well. We gain great satisfaction through their enthusiasm and achievement and we love to see young people succeed.

“The partnership between us and Moreton Morrell College is a great way into a fulfilling career.”

The sweet smell of success for Jacobs Douwe Egberts

Jacobs Douwe Egberts supplies an incredible nine per cent of the world’s coffee. With brands including Kenco and Tassimo alongside its Douwe Egberts brand, the company sells more than 4,200 cups of tea and coffee every second.

Its UK market is served by its Banbury facility, which produces 20,000 tonnes of coffee a year and employs around 300 people.

The company apprenticeship scheme has run since 1983, putting 74 young people through. It currently has 12 apprentices (10 in manufacturing and two in research and development).

Offering strong training and support is a priority for the company and it works with Trident College, part of Warwickshire College Group.

The young people receive a thorough grounding in engineering. Apprentices spend their first year at Trident College studying basic engineering. In the second year, they experience different departments and trades within the manufacturing facility.

By Christmas of their second year they will follow either a mechanical or electrical route. In the third year they will have established which area of engineering most interests them and by the fourth year they are preparing themselves for their chosen manufacturing career path, while attending college on day release to gain their HNC qualification.

Since the company’s apprenticeship scheme began, 55 of the apprentices stayed with the business, of which 39 are still working there. Four hold senior management positions.

Charity business goes the extra mile to support apprentices

Give as You Live was launched in 2010 to provide an easy way to raise free funds for charity just by shopping online.

The Evesham-based company now works with thousands of charities, fundraisers and retailers to raise money.

The company has been employing apprentices for four years to help harness local talent. It has so far trained six in social media, customer service, technical assistance and marketing and is currently training two apprentices in digital marketing and business administration.

Give as You Live’s expansion plans mean that from 2020 it plans to increase its apprenticeship intake from two to three a year and widen training opportunities into departments such as development and finance.

The company has always advocated introducing fresh talent into the business and over the past two years staff satisfaction has risen due to better working relationships, partly down to its apprenticeship strategy.

Rachel Layton completed a Customer Service apprenticeship with Give as You Live last year, winning “Intermediate Apprentice of the Year” at the recent Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards. The company says that the effect Rachel has had on the business has been invaluable.

Laura Gorin, Give as you Live’s Head of Marketing, said: “We have seen a decrease in customer enquires due to her ability to answer queries thoroughly, and an increase in customer satisfaction via our Feefo rating.

What’s your specialist subject?

Warwickshire College Group (WCG) is the largest college training provider in the Midlands, training around 2,500 apprentices each year.

One thing that makes it almost unique in apprenticeship delivery is the breadth of professions it can accommodate. Its seven colleges cover wide-ranging specialisms such as landbased industries, automotive engineering and dental nursing, to name a few.

WCG also provides training for the most popular professions such as marketing, accounting, business administration and social care, which means that almost any employer, large or small, is likely to find that their new or existing staff can become apprentices with WCG.

As a trailblazer training provider, WCG worked on the development and introduction of new Apprenticeship Standards with national giants such as Jaguar Land Rover. As a result it is one of the largest training providers for higher level apprenticeships, right up to Honours degree level.

WCG apprentices have the opportunity in a number of professions to progress from Level 2 (Intermediate) right up to highly skilled Level 6 (Degree), making apprenticeships a careerspanning progression pathway for many people.