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Group says it is worth investing in youngsters

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 30, 2014

APPRENTICES: Quinten John, Adam Langbridge, Tom Josling, Jack Gilbert, James Friend, Craig Barrett, Joe Kelly and Connor Davis.

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"AT Beran Instruments and Helitune we need to increase our skills capacity and address the skills gap in our industry, particularly in engineering," said Lindy Stacey, operations manager at the Condition Monitoring Group (CMG).

The group combines the two advanced engineering manufacturing businesses in Torrington.

Lindy said: "We train our own 'home-grown' talent, hiring a minimum of two apprentices each year, and have been doing so for the past 15 years.

"We want to provide the opportunity for local young individuals to learn a profession through a combination of on-the-job learning and experience, while getting a formal education and gaining a professional qualification.

"To date, 40% of our current employees originally started as apprentices, highlighting our impressive retention rate.

"All of these achieved NVQ3, with the majority also going on to achieve NVQ4/5, and the potential to move on to part-time honours degrees. Four members of staff are currently working towards post-graduate master's degrees."

As an international business, apprentices gain a significant amount of experience from exposure to overseas subsidiaries and markets.

Lindy said a business needed to identify any skill gaps and ensure an apprenticeship would address this, as they are a long-term investment, sometimes up to four years.

To give the best value to both employer and apprentice, planning and structure are required. This includes working with training providers, such as GTD and Petroc, to identify the right training and qualification.

It also requires considerable time and commitment from other employees, including trainers, coaches, managers and mentors. Lindy said: "At the moment, our apprentices need to learn the core skills required in the business – understanding what we do, how we do it.

"In the next 12 months we would like them to think about their futures and what areas of the business they would like to explore in more detail.

"One of the benefits is highly skilled and motivated employees. Our employees are our biggest asset. Our plan for the future is to develop our talent, giving us the skills capacity to allow our business to grow successfully.

"In order to address the demographics we are faced with and the geographical area we live in, and to ensure we don't have skill gaps in the future, businesses need to invest in the development of their employees – apprenticeships are very rewarding."

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