A-Plant

One of the reasons we like working with Vision Apprentices is because they facilitate workshops which involve our apprentices getting together as a group five or six times a year

Vision Apprentices have been workng with tool hire company, A-Plant since the beginning of 2014. After working with other apprenticeship providers, A-Plant started working with Vision Apprentices because of their “excellent recruitment process” says A-Plant’s People Development Manager, Gráinne Patterson.

Since their partnership began, Vision Apprentices has recruited over 50 apprentices for A-Plant branches across the country – taking the total number of apprentices at the company up to 170.

Due to A-Plant now working with Vision Apprentices, they have extended their apprenticeship programmes, offering a customer service apprenticeship for employees working on the Hire Desk, these apprentices play an integral part in the business by being a customer’s first point of contact. “There’s a niche there for us to bring people in” said Gráinne. Employing people at such an early stage in their career can be really beneficial for employers – they can develop the apprentice and customise their skills-set to suit their business needs.

A-Plant, a national, award winning plant, tool and equipment hire company have over 135 service centres across the UK, and the 2,900 strong team of professionals provide expertise to over 30,000 customers. Hiring apprentices is nothing new to them, and is a notion that has been “imbedded in the company ethos” says A-Plant’s Head of Training, Bob Harper.

According to Gráinne, the recruitment process is one of many reasons why A-Plant chose to work with Vision Apprentices over other agencies because they can “provide coverage nationally” – Vision Apprentices have the resources and expertise to recruit on a national basis, meaning they were able to provide A-Plant with “the volume” of apprentices they were looking for. “We needed that help, and that support – and it’s important that Vision Apprentices were able to deliver that” said Bob.

The recruitment process is straightforward, Vision Apprentices take control of all the advertising and pre-screening before presenting the employer with a shortlist of potential candidates. Each apprentice goes through assessments and telephone interviews – making sure they are well prepped and up to standard. The assessments carried out by Vision Apprentices is “a plus” says Gráinne, as it is one less cost to A-Plant. The process is very beneficial for managers inexperienced in recruitment because “Vision Apprentices gave them all the tools to enable them to make decisions” says Bob.

“One of the reasons we like working with Vision Apprentices is because they facilitate workshops which involve our (apprentices) getting together as a group five or six times a year – they have the opportunity to share best practice, form friendships and they receive the same message” says Gráinne. Before A-Plant started working with Vision Apprentices, Bob says their apprentices were “learning in isolation” which could lead to them becoming demotivated.

The first time the apprentices get together is at their induction, it is here where the apprentices were speaking about why they chose an apprenticeship over other means of Further Education, it was clear to see that the apprentices were attracted by the prospect of “a long term career” said Kyle Henson (18). Similarly, Ella Gingell (17) hoped that an apprenticeship would “open a few doors” when it came to future employment, as it would provide her with experience as well as nationally-recognised qualifications.

A-Plant offer great progression routes too – staff start off as an apprentice, and providing they have attended all the necessary training workshops and they’ve passed their qualifications, they become a ‘Hire Controller’ – this comes with a title change, salary increase, and more support to help them on their journey. It is this position that has the most opportunity for development, “it gives apprentices that ‘spring board’ to move into sales, management or even the operational side of the business – giving them that really good foundation to progress” said Bob.

Upon completing their Level 2 apprenticeship in Customer Services with A-Plant, Shelby Parker Reid (19) and Sophie Bryan (17) were invited to Vision Apprentices’ event at the House of Lords in London. Out of 11,000 apprentices, 30 were chosen to receive awards in recognition for their talent, hard work, dedication and commitment to their place of work.

Speaking of the prestigious experience, Shelby said “I felt really excited and privileged to have been invited to attend the House of Lords. It made me feel really proud that out of thousands of apprentices I had been chosen.” Adding to this, Sophie said being invited to the event was “a great sense of achievement” and that she was very proud of what she had “achieved and accomplished” during her apprenticeship at A-Plant.

Principle and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College Group, Dame Asha Khemka DBE said, “it is always a tremendous honour to congratulate our latest star apprentices in the truly inspirational House of Lords while also celebrating our work with employers to provide the skills and talent for their business to flourish.”

Not only have A-Plant seen an improvement in their business, but Shelby and Sophie have thrived during their apprenticeship and as a result decided to stay working at A-Plant – this time studying for Level 3, “I have learnt and gained a vast amount of skills, whilst completing my Level 2 apprenticeship, which I believe will only prepare me to complete Level 3 successfully” said Sophie.

To find out more about the benefits of taking on an apprentice, call us on 0800 121 8317