BDC

Despite a backdrop of industry talent shortages, apprenticeships are thriving at Polypipe Building Services

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With 266,000 extra workers needed within the construction sector by 2026 according to the Construction Industry Training Board, employers are being urged to use apprenticeships as a vehicle to home grow the people they need – a tactic that is reaping dividends for Polypipe Building Services.

The Kent-based drainage system company has found success using apprenticeships not only as a means of attracting new talent into the company and giving people their first step on the career ladder, but also to support staff looking to upskill or change roles.

Luke Pollington and Kim Gleadhill are among 12 apprentices currently at Polypipe Building Services, after the company began taking on apprentices to drive a transfer of skills and knowledge which support the growth of the business. 

Luke began working at Polypipe Building Services in 2019. Having recently left university where he studied Business Studies and Marketing, he’d never considered that construction would offer him a role in digital marketing.

He said: “Working here has changed my view of construction, as I never thought something like drainage would involve subjects like Building Information Modelling (BIM) or Research and Development (R&D) and I’ve found it really interesting. 

“On the digital side it’s opened my eyes in terms of how different learning the theory has been to actually doing it in practice. When you apply it in the real world there’s so much more to think about and having a team around to help you makes a difference. 

Kim Gleadhill decided to make a career switch following lockdown moving across to Polypipe Building Services from the water industry as an HR & Payroll Coordinator. She attends college one evening a week and has a half day a week devoted to her studies to complete her HR apprenticeship and diploma course.

She said: “Training is supported here and there is a learning culture. I began my course in January and I get a lot out of studying, as there are 10-15 other women on the course and we talk about the different ways of doing things which helps you to look at things differently and not get too set in your way of doing things.”

Andy Cullum, managing director at Polypipe Building Services said investment in people is key to growth and success at the company, as well as being essential to retention and in creating a workplace culture that recognises and values new ideas.

He said: “We are a proud member of The Genuit Group 5% Club – which means we aim to have at least 5% of our workforce in sponsored training, graduate schemes or apprenticeships at all times.

“Apprenticeships are a great way for businesses to foster a culture of continuous development through a mixture of on the job training and a structured college courses which allows people to apply their skills as they learn them. 

“Not only does it help our employees feel valued and more confident in their work, but as a business it helps us to maintain high standards, as well as develop and grow from the fresh ideas they bring back to Polypipe.”

For more information about careers at Polypipe Building Services go to https://www.polypipe.com/careers-hub

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BDC 301 February 2023