Apprentices make the difference at Birmingham company

Training is key to business success says scheme boss.

Paul Millington has no doubts that a great deal of JS Wright’s success is down to the excellence of its apprentices and its outstanding apprentice training scheme.
The Associate Director at the Aston-based building services provider has just guided his 50th apprentice towards a high-flying engineering career as the company marks the start of National Apprenticeship Week with plans to take on another four trainees in 2015.

Paul has reached his personal training landmark in his 40th year at JS Wright, which in turn is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a new Bristol base to add to its offices in Birmingham and London, and with what is expected to be a record-breaking £38 million turnover for the current financial year.

The company currently has four technical apprentices at its head office and 14 craft apprentices working on site on mechanical services projects ranging from fitting out extra care homes across the Midlands to equipping 400 new luxury apartments at Canary Wharf on what is the firm’s biggest-ever contract valued at £18 million. They also takes on a design engineering apprentice each year. One is currently being funded through a degree course in building services at Coventry University as a pioneering step in continuous investment in the future of its employees.

A major factor in the success of JS Wright’s apprentices has been the launch in 2008 of the JSW Academy. A forum for personal development and talent spotting, its members enjoy factory workshops on the use of new products and systems in collaboration with suppliers, adventure training days to help develop leadership and team-building skills, and regular seminars from experienced JS Wright engineers.

Since the academy’s inception, the company has won no less than seven training awards including both the Building Engineering Services Training London and Southern Region Apprentice of the Year award, and the B&ES Heating and Plumbing Services Craft Trainee of the Year award for the past two years.

The supreme competence of JS Wright’s apprentices also contributed to the company winning the biggest award in its history at the H&V News Awards of 2013 for its Outstanding Contribution to the Industry.

Paul Millington, who has led the JSW Academy from the outset, began his own career in 1974 as an apprentice. His late father George started likewise and has been one of a number of former apprentices to progress to become main board directors of the company.

Paul’s son Joe continued the family tradition when he joined as an apprentice plumber in 2007, and is now an integral part of the Canary Wharf project team. Paul said:
“Having had apprentices working for the company continuously for all 125 years of its existence is testament to their value. But what sets JS Wright’s apprentices apart are the values of integrity, loyalty and quality that we instill in them and the opportunities they are given to develop to their full potential.

“I am extremely proud of our apprentices in terms of their commitment and enthusiasm, leadership and team-working skills and their willingness to help train others, all of which has enabled JS Wright to become a preferred contractor for some of the UK’s leading developers.”