Aberdeen-based Thistle Windows and Conservatories has launched its own training academy in a move to create the next generation of skilled workers.
The Bridge of Don-based firm is looking to recruit six to 1o apprentices in it first intake with all those who successfully complete the training guaranteed at job at the end of the period.
Ian Bruce, managing director, said they decided to launch the scheme to help tackle the shortage of skilled workers and to “safeguard the future of the business”.
The Aberdeen-based company said it will invest between £50,000 to £100,000 in the first year of the academy, which will employ a number of different trades including joiners, bricklayers, builders, electricians and plumbers.
Mr Bruce said: “The construction industry just now is pretty buoyant and in particular home improvements.
“There is certainly a significant skills shortage in the country just now.
It’s also to safe guard our business for the future. We are creating the next generation of our highly-skilled tradespeople.”
Ian Bruce, managing director
“The plan is for us to take on our own young people and give them the opportunity in various different disciplines of construction.
“It’s also to safe guard our business for the future. We are creating the next generation of our highly-skilled tradespeople.
“Unlike a lot of companies where they’ll take on apprentices and trainees and effectively make them redundant at the end of that, we see it quite differently. If we are investing in these people we are giving them a career for the future.
“We can’t rely on recruiting people outwith the company now. I believe it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.
“And now is the right time to invest in the future.”
Safeguard the future for construction industry
There will be two possible routes for the new hires with either in-house training or a formal apprenticeship that will see them attend college in the three to four year period.
Mr Bruce said it would depend on the individual applicant as to the type of training they receive but believes it’s important for other businesses to follow their example.
He said: “It’s going to be a continuous investment that we’ll have to provide.
“In order for us to get the best for the business and give the trainees and apprentices the best opportunities we have got to invest in them.
“We see it as a benefit. It’s giving these young people the opportunity to gain a career.
“There is a big problem with a skill shortage and there is a frenzy with construction and home improvement just now.
“We do see that continuing and we have to prepare ourselves for that future and this is an important decision we make for it.
“Over the last 10 years or so traditionally there hasn’t been the same volume of trainee apprentices coming into the construction industry and businesses really have to take the view that they’ve got to invest in these people or construction will fall far behind.
“It’s a big challenge for every business out there just now.”
Applications so far encouraging
The feedback so far has been encouraging with a number of applications being received from mainly people aged 16-19 with some also in their early 20s looking for a career change.
Michael Queen, marketing manager, said: “The response has been very positive. We’ve had quite a steady flow of applicants.
“For every position we are getting really ambitious young individuals applying.
“One of the things that is really drawing these applicants in and I think is very unique is as long as they meet training targets they have a guaranteed full time position with us.”
Mr Bruce joined the business when it opened in 1995 and was the first person to install a window for the firm in a property above a baker shop in Turriff.
Ten years later he became managing director and is now co-owner with Nick Robson.
Thistle Windows and Conservatories carries out a number of home improvements and building works including windows, doors, conservatories, kitchens & bathrooms.