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Keystone Group embrace apprenticeships with BSDC

The Keystone Group have been embracing apprenticeships in partnership with Burton and South Derbyshire College and are encouraging other employers to get on board during National Apprenticeship Week (7th-13th February).

The Keystone Group is the UK’s largest Steel Lintel manufacturer and Europe’s fastest growing Roof Window manufacturer. With a strong focus on innovation the company has grown to its present position in the marketplace by establishing a reputation for reliable supply of quality specialist products. The Keystone Group now consists of Keystone Lintels, IG Lintels, Keylite Roof Windows, IG Elements, IG Masonry Support Systems and Smartroof.

Companies within the group have been working in partnership with Burton and South Derbyshire College for a number of years to deliver apprenticeships in customer service, business and engineering. Representatives from the group have also been involved in developing the employability skills within students on-campus at the College, taking part in mock interviews, classroom presentations and sponsoring the College’s FE and Apprenticeship awards evenings.

Two shining examples of the success of the apprenticeship programme at Keystone Group are Josh Toplis at IG Masonry Support Systems (IGMSS) and Hannah Nevin at Keylite, who have both gone on to secure permanent positions after completing their apprenticeships.

Josh Toplis had always preferred hands-on learning and had long dreamed of becoming an engineer, making an apprenticeship the natural route to achieve his goal. Speaking about his experience of studying a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Fabrication and Welding at IGMSS, he said: “I’ve always wanted to be an engineer and the mix of college learning with getting hands-on skills in the workshop suited my style of learning. I’ve now been offered a full time job as a welder which I’m really pleased about as it’s what I set out to achieve. It’s a challenging role that keeps me on my toes and I enjoy working here.”

Meanwhile, Hannah Nevin decided to start an apprenticeship after enjoying a work experience placement. She began her Level 2 Apprenticeship in Customer Service at Keylite and was initially nervous and quiet. However, the staff at Keylite helped Hannah to develop her skills and confidence over the course of her apprenticeship and she is now a permanent team member.

Hannah said: “I’ve never looked back since starting my apprenticeship; it’s the best decision I’ve made. I was shy and nervous when I first started my apprenticeship but the people here respected me and made me feel part of the team. As my apprenticeship was coming to an end, I was offered a permanent position of Internal Sales Advisor. I enjoy talking to customers and it feels good when they thank you for helping them out and doing a good job. If it wasn’t for the people at Keylite, I wouldn’t have the belief in myself and I wouldn’t be as confident.”

Hannah’s line manager and Internal Sales Team Leader at Keylite, Leah Bowley added: “Hannah has been the most fantastic asset to our team; she’s exceeded all expectations. She started off quiet but she’s grown into such a developed individual and a valued member of the team. Hannah is now a fully-fledged Internal Sales Advisor, looking after two large areas of the UK. The partnership with Burton and South Derbyshire College has been great for us. We have also recently taken on a technical apprentice who is proving to be a great addition to the team. We have received great support from the college in helping us to find candidates that are suitable for our job roles. Apprenticeships have brought so much value to our company and we would definitely encourage other companies to get on board!”

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