Plumb Center apprentices: James Cook, Bristol; Sean MacFarlane, Edinburgh; Matt Bauer, Exeter; James Moore, Chorley and back row, Rebecca Morgan, Cardiff.
Plumb Center meets the apprentices
Published: 17 April, 2012
WARWICKSHIRE: Plumb Center and Parts Center apprentices visited Leamington Spa's Wolseley Center yesterday for a training day and special lunch with Plumb and Parts managing director Keith Jones.
The 18 apprentices met Mr Jones and other senior managers from the business to assess their progress and chart career development.
Trainees took part in a group project called The Hoist, a team-building task where apprentices design and build a real life pulley. They also listened as Mr Jones explained the value of good training and the skills that trainees bring to the business.
"It was an invaluable experience," said Helena Sowden, who joined Leeds Plumb Center in February 2011, "and we all felt lucky to have been invited to an apprentice day held just for us.
"It has been a steep learning curve since I joined Plumb Center but I've enjoyed every minute. I've gained many new skills and the whole team has been really welcoming and supportive."
The apprenticeship scheme is a two-year programme focused on customer service. The first year sees apprentices complete their intermediate level apprenticeship, while year two takes them to level three.
Apprentices are based at a 'home' Plumb Center branch and spend time at other branches in their 'home' branch network to broaden their experience. The scheme includes regular performance reviews so that all apprentices stay on track and develop throughout the programme.
Operations training manager Frank Clayton, who manages the programme said: "Our apprentice scheme brings fresh people into the business and encourages them to develop within the company.
"Apprentices gain real-life work experience and on-the-job training and we hope that all of our apprentices go on to further their careers with Plumb Center and Parts Center."
Network manager Nathan Morrison of Plumb Center Leeds joined a Plumb and Parts trainee scheme a number of years ago, similar to the apprenticeship scheme run today and rose through the ranks to oversee the development of today's recruits.
Working in the same branch as Ms Sowden, he is responsible for ensuring that she is fully trained in all areas and departments - just in the way he was trained when he joined the company.
He said: "I'm living proof that the apprentice scheme works and Plumb Center really is a great place to learn. I get to work with people who are so enthusiastic about coming to work every day. I really feel like I'm helping to shape the next generation of Plumb Center employees, and I get a kick out of that."