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Window of opportunity for apprentices

Posted onPosted on 4th Dec
Window of opportunity for apprentices

A Nottingham-based firm is investing in its workforce with six new apprentice team leaders.

Hillarys – which produces made-to-measure blinds, curtains and shutters – has appointed six apprentices through Vision Apprentices – a subsidiary company of West Nottinghamshire College.

Hillarys recently joined forces with Jobcentre Plus and Vision Apprentices to recruit the new employees, who will start out as apprentices, with the option to progress to supervisor level.

A recruitment event was held at Vision Apprentices’ Canal Street premises in Nottingham to prepare candidates for applying for the vacancies at Hillarys. Candidates were given literacy and numeracy assessments, help with interview techniques and gained a Level 1 Certificate in WorkSkills.

The candidates, who were all unemployed, also learned more about what the job and apprenticeship programme involved and were guaranteed an interview.

Now, Toby Charlesworth, Nathan Savage, Marcus Gent, Thomas Sissons, José Dias and Kieran Green are all enjoying their apprenticeships in team leading at Hillarys’ Colwick-based production headquarters.

The apprenticeship will take 12-18 months to complete and will give them the opportunity to progress within the company.

Team leader apprentice Jose Dias, 24, said: “I’ve found my first month working here to be really enjoyable. I’m getting on much better than I expected. Before coming here I was unemployed and before that my job was a picker and packer.

“This role is much more rewarding and I’m getting trained up while I work – it’s great. I’d love to continue working here and maybe be promoted in the future.”

Manufacturing manager Kevin Salmon said: “It’s often hard to find people with the right skills for this industry, so we decided to bring employees in at a lower level and train them up into management roles.

“Vision Apprentices helped with the first interview screening and we brought the applicants in for an assessment day to test their skills. We build a lot of our own equipment here so we dismantled some machines and asked candidates to build them up again. It helped us to see what skills each person had.

“Our six new apprentices have a great mix of skills and fit in really well with the business and our needs and I have every confidence in them.”