Apprentice Academy builds sustainable workforce

Success for young workers.

A Birmingham building services provider that has grown its workforce by 50% over the past decade has found the answer to filling the skills gap.

JS Wright is meeting the needs of the future with a strong sustainable workforce after welcoming the 40th new recruit to its Apprentice Academy. Launched in 2008, the training forum has proved so successful that no less than 49 of the company’s 140 employees are current or former JS Wright apprentices.

The 126-year-old firm is now marking its support for National Apprenticeship Week (March 14th-18th) by announcing plans to recruit at least another five high-quality trade and technical trainees this year. The move follows the company’s success in securing its biggest-ever contract worth over £27 million to equip the new luxury 441-home Keybridge development, incorporating Britain’s tallest brick residential tower, in central London.

Managing Director Marcus Aniol has no doubts that the JS Wright Apprentice Academy has enabled the company to fill the skills gap within the construction industry and talent-sport its leaders of tomorrow. He said: “Our current and former apprentices, who now make up a phenomenal 35% of our workforce, are making an invaluable contribution to our success as we continue to expand our business nationally with an ever-growing order book. We launched our academy as a number of senior engineers were nearing retirement to attract high quality trainees, instill in them our values of integrity, loyalty and quality, and help them develop as our future leaders. ”

All JS Wright’s craft and technical apprentices, working out of the company’s Aston and London offices on projects ranging from hotels and care homes to offices and luxury apartments, automatically become members of the JS Wright Academy, where they benefit from workshops hosted by suppliers, adventure training, and seminars by experienced JS Wright engineers.

Academy leader and Associate Director Paul Millington, who has guided the academy since its birth, is planning its ninth annual outdoor meeting this summer, having developed successful partnerships with Midlands-wide companies including Rehau, Polypipe Terrain, Victaulic and Worcester Bosch.

Last year’s event saw members put their problem-solving skills to the test in Coventry with a pipe assembly challenge at Georg Fischer whose staff also gave valuable practical technical presentations to the apprentices. The two-day meeting included a hotel stay with the presentation of the annual J
S Wright Apprentice of the Year award, and a day at Adventure Sport in Warwick with activities designed to encourage leadership and team-building skills.

Paul Millington said: “The training with our suppliers has proved invaluable to the company because it has not only improved the technical knowledge of our apprentices but also helped develop their communication skills. This is shown by the confidence our apprentices show in delivering key worksite requirements including effective toolbox talks, training newer members, and working effectively with colleagues, contractors and suppliers.”