You have had lots of recent successes with Apprentices – including at the Engineers of Tomorrow competition at IFSEC and at the BSIA Awards. How important are Apprentices to CSS?
Apprentices have been vital to our growth, without them we would have been well and truly stuffed – no question! We are all witnessing a severe shortage in available engineers and taking the time to invest in Apprentices means that we can help ensure we are better equipped in the future. The young talent coming through today is enabling businesses to embrace new technologies, whilst also allowing other staff to take on additional tasks as well as share their knowledge. You can’t train experience, so at the same time the talent pool needs to be a balanced mix of vibrant youth and ‘long in the tooth’.
As part of your apprenticeship programme you work closely with your local training provider, New College Lanarkshire. How important has this relationship been to your success?
The College has been essential to our Apprenticeship programme. We have had eight apprentices successfully complete their qualification at the College over the past four years and have another six starting this year. We know that the College provides them with not only the training they need to pass their assessments, but also the skills and knowledge to prepare them for when they are on site. They are also open to our input on this and ensure our Apprentices train using the equipment they will be installing day-to-day. We believe this is an example to the rest of the industry and encourage other Installers to engage with their colleges to replicate our success. It can be done! It is an old adage, if you don’t invest you’ll be out of business long-term and of course people, especially younger people, are the key ingredient for the future of our industry – discounting robots of course!
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