CBES Group have recently featured in the NIEC Connections magazine Issue 220, about business across the country struggling with a shortage of electricians, so apprenticeships are increasingly seen as the answer. See below extracts from the editorial.
For Tracey Colwill, director at strong Bristol based CBES Group, it’s a two-way street. “We develop our apprentices by supporting them through their training and ensuring they get the experience they need. We benefit from the work they carry out during the apprenticeship, and when they’ve completed it, we have newly qualified electricians who tend to stay with us for a while”
With training subsidies being offered to businesses looking to provide apprenticeship opportunities, the process of developing and filling an apprenticeship programme is relatively straightforward, according to Colwill. “We filled our two current apprenticeship places through recommendations and referrals from friends and family. We then need to get the apprentices enrolled on college courses. The government pays subsidies up to the maximum in the funding band directly to the training provider, and we make up the rest,” she says. CBES Group’s two apprentices are working through their level 3 EAL electrotechnical qualification, and several previous apprentices are now working as fully fledged electricians for CBES. When assessing any potential apprentice, the company focuses on their personal qualities rather than academic performance. “ There has to be a certain level of academic attainment, particularly in maths, but we don’t look at age, sex or background”, says Colwill. “It is far more important to us that they are reliable, want to make a success of themselves and their career, and have the right attitude.”
Justin Jenkins is in the first year of his apprenticeship, having left school after his GCSE’s and enrolled on an electrical taster course at a local college. Now he is relishing the opportunity with CBES. “I hadn’t really thought about what I wanted to do after school until my dad mentioned getting a trade and becoming an electrician. I investigated it, and everything seemed right. I’m really enjoying everything about it,” he says.
“Not everyone is ready to do a degree and not everyone wants student debt hanging over them,” says CBES group Colwill. “Apprenticeships are the best way for those people to get a trade and join the work force. We have no regrets about taking on any of our apprentices.”