From education to employment

Understanding the value of a good apprenticeship

Carwood’s general manager Anthony James understands the value of a good apprenticeship – having started his now successful career as an apprentice – and he also appreciates the help provided by The Apprenticeship Works service to make sure the right young people walk through his door…

“I’m an ex-apprentice and I really do appreciate the value in taking on young people,” says Anthony James, “for me The Apprenticeship Works is a one-stop-shop solution to what can be a complex problem.”

Working with The Apprenticeship Works has proved so successful that three of the original apprentices taken on by the business now have full-time jobs and three new apprentices hope the same will happen for them.

The company, which is celebrating its 50th year, was set up by Gary Carter in Coventry and began remanufacturing and distributing specialised vehicle components.

Since then the business has grown steadily and today has more than 210 employees, with a large proportion of highly skilled technical staff.

In an industry where knowledge and experience are highly valued, it is proud that many members of staff, currently 30, have been with the company for more than 20 years.

At its Smethwick business Carwood has worked with Debbie Adams, from The Apprenticeship Works, for more than three years.

The Apprenticeship Works, which is based in High Street, West Bromwich, acts as a broker and is one of only a few government-backed brokerage schemes in the country.

Apprentices are employed by the agency with the employer paying a small weekly contribution and not having any of the worry of paperwork, HR, interview or training costs.

Anthony said: “The Apprenticeship Works handle all the advertising, CV vetting and first interview for me. It means that the right people are sent to us. When we take someone on The Apprenticeship Works is there to provide on-going support, dealing with wages, holidays and any personal issues that can arise, after all we are working with young people who can find the transition from school to employment daunting.”

For 24-year-old diesel technician, Paul Hampshire, the support from both the company and The Apprenticeship Works meant he found the perfect job.

“I came here three years ago through The Apprenticeship Works,” says the father-of-one, “the service was really good. It was fast-acting and within a week of going along Debbie found me an apprenticeship here.

“They helped me get my life on track and I am thankful to Carwood for taking me on. At the end of my apprenticeship they took me on. It has meant I can provide for my young family and now I hope to get more qualifications and move up within the business.”

For 20-year-old Jake Law a carpentry course at college wasn’t heading in the right direction for him, so he went along the The Apprenticeship Works where he was interviewed and advised about an apprenticeship at Carwood.

After a successful 12 months Jake was taken on full-time as a diesel technician and his confidence has grown since.

Two years ago, despite completing an apprenticeship, 23-year-old Ashley Mather didn’t get a job and so he decided to visit The Apprenticeship Works.

Within a week of visiting The Apprenticeship Works, Ashley was sent for an interview at Carwood to join the administration team where he proved himself and after twelve months landed a full-time job as a contract administrator.

“Working with The Apprenticeship Works is a collaboration,” says Anthony, “we are both here to make sure the right young people get the right apprenticeship for the benefit of the business and for the right start in their working life. It is about managing the transition from school to employment with training bolted on.”



Pictured is Ashley  Mather with Anthony James, Carwoods General Manager

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