TRAINING engineers for the future is at the heart of Glevum Heating’s ethos and the company now hopes to celebrate at the first ever Gloucestershire apprenticeships awards.
The Gloucester-based heating, renewables, plumbing and electrical solutions company has been entered in the Medium Employer of the Year category of the Gloucestershire Apprenticeships Awards 2012, run in association with Clarkson Evans.
The awards are organised by The Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo.
Yesterday, the judging panel met at the papers’ offices in Cheltenham. Suzanne Hall-Gibbins, director of Gloucestershire Chamber of Commerce, said she was impressed by the entries. She said: “The quality reinforces that there are a number of young people out there committed to their job.”
Located in Tuffley Park, Glevum Heating has had a focus on apprentices, since forming in 1997. Director Lee Derbidge said: “We work really hard to build our engineers of the future and have been employing apprentices almost since we set the company up.
“The only way to get good engineers on the whole is to train them yourself, proof of this is the fact that one of our best engineers was our first apprentice, he joined us as a 16 year old and is 30 in June.”
The company has formed a strong relationship with Gloucestershire College. At any one time the business has between three and five apprentices in training in Gloucester and it now has a trainee in its office joining those on the heating apprenticeship programme.
“We have apprentices who have had a chequered past, we believe in giving someone a chance,” Lee said. “We have taken a call from Gloucestershire College many times with an apprentice that has been displaced and is looking for work, we have interviewed them and taken them on and in at least three cases, they are still here.”
Glevum Heating has taken on 14 year olds in a program of combined work and schooling. Many are struggling with their studies and have been advised to drop some subjects and learn new skills. One engineer who joined the scheme at 14 is now 23 and still with the company.
The business is also now involved with Gloucestershire College’s Foundations Studies department. While it is not an apprenticeship scheme, it aims to help youths that have low self-esteem or have learning difficulties, get some experience in the work place or have practice interviews. Glevum Heating has agreed to get involved and is sponsoring a number of students to get their CSCS (Construction Skills Certification
Overall, the business has nine apprentices in manual jobs and one in administration. It estimates to have had more than 40 apprentices in the past 13 years. Apprentices are involved in all areas of the business from servicing to installations on the heating and renewables sides.
Lee added: “The extent of their impact is immeasurable, we would not be the same company without the guys we have trained.
“The biggest issue can often be the issues they have outside of the company or any learning disadvantages they may have. Most of these can be overcome if they want to work at it. We will support them along with the college. We have many engineers here that have been here since leaving school and in some cases while they were at school.
“We don’t take on apprentices to be cheap labour. If they start here, it’s because we want them to become qualified and be our new generation of engineers, that is what we would want for our sons and daughters if they were employed.”
Glevum Heating covers all aspects of heating, electrical and renewable energy works. It does all of its work with in-house, time-served employees.
The Gloucestershire Apprenticeships Awards 2012 culminates in a gala awards event at The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse, on April 4.
It will be attended by guest of honour the Princess Royal. For more information visit www.thisis gloucestershire.co.uk/apprentices.