It is Apprenticeship Week this week! The Thomas Group currently employ two apprentices and I wanted to share their experience.

Thomas Group have been in the fuel injection repair and parts distribution business for 45 years.

In that time technology and the way to make sales has changed beyond all recognition. Many of the changes to engines have been emission driven, helped by a change from mechanical to electronic control. This continues with moves to hybrid and electric vehicles and provides workshops with fresh challenges.

The covid pandemic has made everyone reassess their traditional “routes to market” like personal visits and trade shows. Covid has accelerated online shopping by years and Distribution companies like ours must embrace this as the way forward. We now live in a world where social media has a massive part to play in sales and marketing.

Anyway, my point is, training and upgrading employee’s is essential. Job roles that we employ people for now did not exist ten years ago. However, the new skills of web developing, online shop building and social media marketing need to blend with traditional vehicle repair and warehouse operations.

So, our question was, “what is the best way to grow our new skill base?” Employ experienced people, look for fresh graduates or use the apprenticeship scheme? The answer, I think, is a mix of all three.

Katie joined the company on an apprenticeship program in 2021 looking at the company’s profile in social media and analytics. I asked Katie why she made that choice rather than college or University.

“I have never been the person that dreamt of going to university despite being very career driven. Lockdown brought many opportunities for all of us, and this is where I found my interest in social media marketing and content creation. I was prepared to travel the miles, like I would have for university, to be able to live my dream however luckily for me, it turned out to be right on my doorstep. University isn’t for everyone; it wasn’t for me, but I have loved every second of being an apprentice. This way I get the experience, the skills and the work environment whilst having fun and developing relationships with, I hope, lifelong colleagues.”Katie Goldsmith

Nearing the end of his scheme is Lewis, an apprentice programmer. I asked Lewis how he found the support and tutoring during his time on the scheme.

My time on the apprentice scheme has been nothing short of great, and as I draw towards the end of getting my qualification, I can truly say I have learned a lot and developed new relations. I have been provided all the support and tutoring ever needed to help me develop new skills and traits, and it is exciting to see what the future holds.”Lewis Rossiter

From the company’s point of view the experience has been fantastic. Having enthusiastic young people integrating into our team has been a very positive experience. They bring with them fresh knowledge from their course tutoring. From Lewis and Katie’s point of view, working with a wonderful team has introduced them to the world of work positively and has shown how teamwork and humour is extremely important within a company.

This is something we will continue with in the future!