The Banham Academy was originally developed to ensure the provision of expert security professionals for the future not only for in-house employees but from across the sector.
"We have always believed in raising talent from within," explained Charles Hallatt, Executive Chairman at the Banham Group. "We have run several Apprenticeship programmes since the company's inception, however the Banham Acamedy allows us to expand this to much larger scales providing training opportunities to a much far greater number of young Londoners and for the wider industry too."
Accredited by the education and examination boards, Edexcel and Highfield, the Academy is offering free traineeships and skills to young people with the desire to embark on careers within the Security industry, as well as providing wider courses for individuals and businesses in fire safety, health and safety, first aid and fgacing the threat of terrorism.
All students who complete the training programmes will be guaranteed a job interview in the industry. Successful candidates who are picked for Apprenticeships upon completing the training programme will be offered competitively paid Apprenticeships within the Banham Group; they have already employed 16 Apprentices.
"It may not be the first area that springsa to mind when young people are considering a career, but the Security sector is really exciting at the moment," adds Lucie Banham, Director of Banham Group. "With new technologies, security threats and solutions are changing every day, which means there's always something new to learn. There's also plenty of room for progression within the comnpany - two of the current members of the Board of Directors started working as Apprentices themselves!"
The training facility itself contains a range different rooms, each created to allow students to work on various aspects of technology and theory, but also designed in such a way that the equipment can be swapped out to make up anew training scenario. One room, for example is currently set up to focus on intruder alarms, but due to its modular nature can be altered to look at fire panels or surveillance. Another room is designed specifically for e-learning, thus giving engineers the opportunity to work on their English, Maths skills etc.
Operations Director Kevin Faulkner added "in July 2014 the Banham Directors came to me and asked me to set up the Academy. I had been working in both the Further Education (FE) and the Security sectors since leaving the Royal Engineers and so getting the Academy up and running was extremely appealling to me. The whole idea was about succession planning for the future because the Directors realised that the sector was lacking new engineers entering the business. The concern was that as technology is changing, the skill set of engineers needed to do so as well, poaching staff from other companies would not solve this problem. Establishing an Academy that was not designed for the purpose of just generating income was essential to bringing people into the industry that installation companies would want to recruit."
The Academy has already delivered its first batch of six sub-contracted funded Apprentices and there are 15 currently 'on programme'.
In February the facility won the Apprenticeships for England Apprentice Employer of the Year Award, which recognises the strong programme that Banham has in place. There were also successes in the Engineers of Tomorrow competition at IFSEC 2016. "We have people working with us now as engineers that have completed their Apprenticeships and we have others still on the programme that are developing quickly and have their own vehicle to go and carry out maintenance visits." explains Kevin.
Of course as an Installation company you might not want to bother training up and new person or bring on an Apprentice, you could easily just teach them as you go. But is this a via option in the long run?
"If you take on a new member of the team you could simply send them out on the job with an experienced installer and let them learn the ropes whilst on the road." says Kevin. "However while they will no doubt learn some good procedures from their mentor, they will pick up a few bad habits. They probably won't learn why they are doing what their doi, just how to do it, so when the knowledge is being passed down it becomes watered down, if you want someone who has a whole range of knowledge of many technologies and disciplines, it is therefore more valuable to your business, then that person needs to go onto a fixed programme of training."