Apprenticeships

Meet the apprentice: Symington’s

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Apprentice Julie Beales and site leader Les Croydon share their experiences with Symington’s
Apprentice Julie Beales and site leader Les Croydon share their experiences with Symington’s
Symington’s has opened up opportunities for its staff to develop through its apprenticeship scheme. Here, apprentice Julie Beales and site leader Les Croydon break down the positive effect the scheme has had on themselves and the business.

The Apprentice: Julie Beales

I am a factory floor supervisor with responsibility for production line productivity. I enrolled in the company’s apprentice scheme in May 2017 and concluded it a year later with a Level 2 qualification.

My aspiration is to enrol in next year’s scheme and train for Level 3.

The course gave me additional skills and a formal qualification that, coupled with my experience, helps to give me a more stable footing to manage my area. It helped me develop skills in lean techniques, key-performance indicator setting and deadline management. These are all skills that are as relevant in my day-to-day life as in my working environment.

My director briefed us on the possibilities that entering the scheme could bring, and I thought it was an opportunity that I should not miss. Education is never a bad thing and having a qualification allows me to manage my teams better.

Overall, the apprenticeship allowed me to hone the skills that have been developed over my career. It has also caused me to positively question a number of ‘habits’ and practices I had learnt by watching other managers.

The employer: Les Croydon

As site leader at our facility in Dartmouth Way, Leeds, I can see how apprenticeships give our workforce a chance to validate and improve their skills and training. They are also a way of giving something  back to our employees.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many applications we got for our scheme, the spread of qualifications achieved, and the increased level of confidence in the trainees. Apprentices also develop a peer group within the business that trainees can approach, should they feel they need to.

Essentially, apprentices learn how to plan and manage production, which includes key-performance indicators, subordinate development and lean techniques.

I have been impressed by the commitment of the apprentices and have seen what are otherwise shy and quiet individuals grow in confidence with the knowledge they have gained.

We are looking at how we can bring together the different factory locations for the next iteration. The long-term aim is to develop a Symington’s academy, employ school-leavers and develop them into future business leaders.

Related topics: People, Skills Gap

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