A growing joinery firm is building a pipeline of future talent thanks to its partnership with Middlesbrough College Group.
And with plans to expand its existing manufacturing plant recently approved, Billingham-based BA Joinery is planning further recruitment – calling on young, ambitious students to come forward.
The specialist manufacturer has been working with the College for more than six years, with many of its senior team joining on a work placement, before securing an apprenticeship and then full-time employment.
Its latest cohort includes 19-year-old Liam Cawood, who also joined the business on a placement. Impressed by his knowledge and work ethic, he was taken on as an apprentice earlier this year and is now building invaluable skills and competencies both in the workplace and at the College.
BA Joinery operations director, Peter Marwood, said: “Our industry continues to face a major skills shortage and we’ve really struggled to recruit specialist joiners over the years. We’ve seen it in the construction industry too.
“Work placements and apprenticeships have helped fill that gap and have played a huge part in our success and growth. In fact, my own son Callum started off as an apprentice back in 2016 and is now thriving with the company as a fully qualified bench joiner.
“The great thing about placements and apprenticeships is they benefit both the learner and the employer. We’re able to develop staff from a young age, teaching them specialist skills for our business, while apprentices learn on the job and build invaluable skills that will help them forge long-lasting careers with our company.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to watch them develop and we’re even exploring the possibility of opening our own apprenticeship academy, in partnership with Middlesbrough College Group. This would allow us to further shape their learning, offer bespoke skills training and ultimately futureproof our workforce.
“We can’t wait to see where this partnership takes our business next.”
Peter's son, Callum, said: “Leaving school and not knowing what to do next can be daunting but an apprenticeship turned out to be the perfect route for me.
“I’ve built a great career for myself here over the past six years and I love coming to work every day. I’d recommend work placements and apprenticeships to anyone else looking to get into the industry. It’s the best way to get hands-on experience and as an apprentice, you can earn while you learn. It’s a win-win.”
Alongside its work placement and apprenticeship intake, BA Joinery recently signed up to offer T Level placements to Middlesbrough College students. These new, pioneering technical qualifications are designed in collaboration with employers and include an industry placement of at least 45 days – helping learners gain valuable experience in the workplace.
Peter added: “As our business continues to grow, we want to encourage more young people across our region to consider T Levels. They’re a fantastic route into the industry and a stepping stone to incredibly rewarding careers.”
As well as its partnership with BA Joinery, Middlesbrough College Group works with more than 2,000 employers in the North East and Yorkshire to deliver various skills programmes. With strong industry links, its experienced team have trained more than 2,200 apprentices putting the group in a strong position to help shape the economic landscape of the region.
Katharine Hawking, head of work experience and T Level industry placements at Middlesbrough College, said: “Industry placements offer unrivalled experiences for our learners and can be a great stepping stone to an apprenticeship.
“And for employers, they offer a unique opportunity to spot potential in some of our most talented learners, right from the beginning.
“We work with businesses across the region to build a pipeline of talent – from placement students to apprentices who are workplace ready and can hit the ground running, and our team are always on hand to help more employers tap into this specialist training.”
As one of the first College’s in the country selected to deliver T Levels from last year, Middlesbrough College now offers T Level programmes in a range of sectors, from childcare and digital, to engineering and science.
From September, Middlesbrough College will also be delivering T Levels in engineering, and is looking to speak with engineering and construction employers across the region who are interested in finding out more about how they can support students, as well as how T Levels could help their business take off in 2022.
For more information, contact the Middlesbrough College Group Work Experience and T Level Industry Placements team at firstname.lastname@example.org