Fairfields is proud to be involved with the government’s #GetInGoFar campaign, promoting apprenticeships nationwide. More than 200,000 apprentices are set to be recruited by small businesses in the next 12 months (source: #GetInGoFar), hopefully 3 of those 200,000 will be recruited by Fairfields!
74% of small businesses report that apprentices help to increase productivity and win new business. We would agree, and this is proven by the fact that apprentices have been a mainstay for Fairfields since 2000. With just over 45 staff, our work requires a team of highly-skilled engineers. Apprenticeships are key to maintaining and developing this expertise, with 30% of Fairfields’ workforce made up of those who have undertaken an apprenticeship.
Fairfields take on up to three apprentices per year. These future engineers embark on an extensive three-year Higher Apprenticeship programme. Following successful completion of their Apprenticeship, we continue to support them through sponsorship of a part-time top up degree for a further two years. Apprentices spend the three year programme rotating around each department, spending roughly six months in each area to get a thorough understanding of the business. Apprentices are then employed on a full-time and permanent basis in their preferred specialism, alongside studying for their degree, all of which enable young people to earn while they learn and avoid the burden of student debt.
Oliver Mangham, Applications Director at Fairfields, who himself started as an apprentice engineer, features in the new government SME apprenticeships campaign. Oliver said:
“As a small business we rely on a small team of highly-skilled workers. Good, well-rounded engineers are hard to come by and apprenticeships give us a competitive edge by providing the valuable opportunity to train young people the way we want them to be trained from the beginning.
Our industry requires a high level of innovation and our apprentices bring new ideas, a great spirit, and bundles of enthusiasm. After 17 years working with apprentices we know that continuing to invest in and develop local talent is essential to the continued success of our business.”
In order to recruit good quality, enthusiastic apprentices, we regularly attend open days, engineering and recruitment fairs and frequently go into local schools and colleges. We also offer summer placements to students in order to give them an insight into the business before applying to the apprenticeship programme. Oliver believes this kind of outreach is vital, he explains:
“I’ve often spoken to a number of young people who say they never realised these kind of opportunities were out there. It’s essential we encourage young people to consider the numerous ways they can kick-start their career.”
Another way we are supporting the #GetInGoFar campaign is by being part of The BIG Assembly on 7th March 2017 – a Guinness World Record attempt for the biggest online careers advice webinar. Visit www.bigassembly.org to join in. Fairfields has also been involved in various promotional activities including radio adverts, newspaper interviews and as part of the online campaign.
Apprenticeships are a long term factor for our success and have been an important consideration in our plans to expand.
We are opening another office in Gloucester in April 2017, where we will also roll out our apprenticeship programme. Oliver explains:
“When we were considering the location of our new office, good links to local colleges and universities were an important part of that decision. After 17 years working with apprentices, we know that continuing to attract and develop local talent is essential to the continued success of our business.”
Apply for an Apprenticeship with Fairfields before 31 March 2017.