PH Boiler Spares Ltd have recently employed their 2nd apprentice, their first is now a full-time member of staff and is performing well. We spent some time with owner Ian to find out more about their experience of employing apprentices.
When deciding to look at employing an Apprentice what were your initial concerns?
The initial concerns are how much input they need from another member of staff, whether it is going to take them away from their duties and whether you will need to babysit that person, that is a concern. Also, the initial cost involved in having someone that can’t run before they can walk so to speak.
Looking back at those concerns, do you think they were valid concerns?
No not really, because within 3 months you can allow them to get on with work themselves, you do tend to shadow and monitor them in certain situations, but you certainly don’t need to be stood by their side.
What benefits have taking on Apprentices brought to your business?
It has allowed us to expand! If we had to employ somebody at full rate and consider the needs of pensions etc the company would incur higher costs. So, it has allowed us to expand, it allowed me to continue with the other side of the business leaving the apprentice in charge. That’s the main area really.
How did your staff and customers respond to you introducing an Apprentice into the business?
Initially not as good as you think, if you consider the customers coming into the trade counter, they would rather see someone that has a full knowledge of the product and the ability to assist them fluently and efficiently. As they don’t know they are being served by an apprentice they do not have that tolerance, that is why I tend to go out and still shadow/support the apprentice and make sure the apprentice understands what they are being asked for.
With our original apprentice who is still with us people have now started to soften towards him, it took about 2 years for that to happen.
What advice would you give to other employers?
Interview as many potential candidates before making a decision and take your time. I think it is worth doing and I would definitely do it again.
What are your thoughts on the service you have received so far?
You don’t need to be there constantly; you guys deal with what needs to be done and you are competent to deal with it. We know our apprentice is up to speed and if anything, he is well ahead of his targets. Everything gets done that needs to get done!