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The Window Company (Contracts) Ltd,

100 Beehive Lane,




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BSI Case study

BSI has just published a really interesting case study on how we achieved our Kitemark for window installation and the benefits it is bringing us. Click here to read it in full.


BSI Case study


There has been some impressive stuff written in GGP over recent months on the progress being made in apprenticeship training by the likes of Cornwall Glass and Veka.


It’s really positive news to see so many large employers being prepared to make the investments necessary to deliver a worthwhile learning experience to the next generation of young people.


In industries such as ours where there is a really acute skills shortage, training our own staff is clearly the best route available to addressing the lack of skills, and I think it makes commercial sense for a business of any size.


TWC215-James-McGuire-is-the-newest-apprentice-at-T TWC215-David-Thornton-The-Window-Company-(Contract

Our Director Compliance and Administration Katie Thornton is already Vice Chair of the Fenestration Apprenticeship Trailblazer Group which is committed to creating an apprenticeship standard specifically for this industry. We’re 100% behind this initiative, because it aims to develop a profile focusing on the knowledge, skills and behaviour required for the fenestration market and to set out the training which makes most sense for us all.


This, I think, would make life much easier for smaller organisations in particular, who are currently faced with a bewildering range of apprenticeship training routes.


For instance, there are now no less than 2000 colleges registered to train apprentices in the UK, many of which have sprung up in response to the government’s new levy requiring large employers to fund their own apprentice training at work and medium sized companies to contribute to the cost of training their apprentices, as well as guaranteeing them one day a week to study off-site.


The government says that it has a target of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 and that’s certainly something I would support, but it’s ironic that the first thing to happen after the introduction of the new training levy last year was a 59% fall in the number of workers starting these programmes.


At The Window Company (Contracts), we are determined to make a success of our apprenticeship scheme however, and we have recently taken on our second young recruit, having worked hard to identify the right training route for them via Anglia Ruskin university.


What’s important to us is that our apprentices should become our next generation of fitters who will stay with us long term and make a meaningful contribution to this business. For that reason, we think it’s worth investing not just in the training they receive but also in how we reward them as well.


I still find it fairly shocking that employers can currently pay just £3.50 per hour to an apprentice of any age in their first year of their training. Surely, that is unsustainable for people living in many parts of the country and excludes many of those unskilled young workers who would benefit most from an apprenticeship?


When we took on our second recruit last year, our starting point was asking him what income he would need to be able to support himself and then we put together a work and training package based around that.


It is true that it is possible to employ an apprentice and legally pay them as little as £140 per week. But I would argue that, no matter how high quality the training is that you provide, that youngster will quickly take any skills they have learned from you to a new employer who is willing to pay them a more realistic sum.


Short changing your apprentices - whether that is in providing inadequate training or paying them rock bottom wages is a false economy. There is no benefit whatsoever to an apprenticeship programme which simply trains staff for your competitors! On the other hand, the rewards which come from investing in a worthwhile apprenticeship scheme which delivers well trained and well motivated staff who want to stay within your business cannot be underestimated.


The Window Company (Contracts) has been recognised for its commitment to training as a finalist in the G-16 Awards for Training & Development Initiative of the Year.