From the ground: Building products manufacturer commits to apprenticeships to develop talent

9 February, 22

To mark this year’s National Apprenticeship Week (7th to 13th February), Northampton-based building products manufacturer Forterra is showcasing three of its apprentices to illustrate the value and range of on-the-job training and the company’s commitment to developing new and existing talent.

Since it was established in 2016, Forterra has taken on 79 apprentices with several more due to enrol by the end of the year. It firmly believes apprenticeships are a great route into a career in industry, as the successes of its apprentices are testament to. However, the company has also recognised that apprenticeships are a valuable tool in helping existing employees’ to develop their career aspirations.

As a member of the 5% Club, Forterra has committed to 5% of its workforce being in ‘earn and learn’ positions by 2025. Currently, 53 Forterra employees are on apprenticeships, ranging from Level 3 to Level 7, in disciplines such as Civil Engineering, Surveying, Business Administration, Customer Service, Leadership and Engineering.

Michelle Francis, Head of Talent Management for Forterra said, “We hire new apprentices each year, but we also encourage existing staff onto apprenticeship programmes to support succession planning.

“Already approximately 3% of our workforce is in on-the-job training so we’re well on the way to meeting, and likely beating, the 5% target.

“We believe in continuous learning and invest in our employees at any age. Without a doubt it’s good for our business and good for our employees.”

Among Forterra’s current apprentices are:

Matthew Lardner

Career development was the reason why 32-year-old Production Manager Matthew decided to undertake a Level 5 apprenticeship in Leadership and Management with Make UK. His course is all distance learning, which he balances with his day-to-day responsibilities on site.

Inspired by his father who worked for Forterra for 22 years before retiring last year, Matthew is hungry to gain new skills and is willing to work hard in order to succeed.

He said, “I learnt early on in life that to do well you have to put the effort in. I’ve worked for Forterra for seven years and have recently been promoted to Production Manager. My job is very demanding but I really welcome the chance to continually push myself through learning. My advice to anyone is to grab all the opportunities you can.”

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