Last month saw apprenticeships take their place in the spotlight. First up was National Apprenticeship Week, swiftly followed by the TV show, Celebrity Apprentice in aid of Comic Relief. Whilst entertaining and all in the name of a good cause, its title, in my opinion, is rather misleading.
The premise of this programme is to take a group of people, set a ‘business’ task and follow them as they execute their plan (usually with mixed success!). In reality, this is at odds with what usually happens to an apprentice. A successful apprenticeship requires quality training, mentoring and support. It is a chance to embark on a career and learn ‘on the job’, whilst earning a salary.
They are a great way into the world of opportunities offered by the cleaning and security industry, and help us build sustainable communities and businesses. At Facilicom, we are proud to support them – in fact, it makes sense on several levels for us. As well as making a profit, our business goals include contributing to general prosperity and playing a positive role in society. Giving people their first step on the career ladder or a chance to try out a new industry is an important part of that.
An apprenticeship also helps get young people out of the classic Catch-22 of needing a job to get experience, but at the same time, needing experience to get a job. Gaining an understanding of what it’s like to work full time, and getting paid while doing it, is an often overlooked, but important part of career development.
Opening our industries to young people is also a great way of reaching a generation that might not otherwise have considered a career in cleaning or security. If we want our sector to be somewhere that people choose to work rather than something they fall into, then giving them the opportunity to experience it first-hand could make a real difference.
We have had several colleagues join us via apprenticeship schemes and are delighted with the progress they have made. Our security business, Trigion, recently employed its first official apprentice engineer too. Tom joined in September on a three-year apprenticeship within our installation department. As part of his apprenticeship, Tom attends college one day a week to further his qualifications, whilst spending the other four days in the field working with our engineering team. His apprenticeship offers him quality training and hands-on experience – the best of both worlds.
Jan Hein Hemke.
Managing Director at Facilicom UK & Ireland