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6 March 2023


Graham Bell, Safety, Health, Environment & Quality (SHEQ) Manager at Compass Building and Construction Services Ltd joins us during Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2023 to share his thoughts on how apprentices are unlocking potential in the business and how he’d encourage employers to invest in an apprenticeship programme.

How many apprentices do you have and what type of roles do they fulfil?

We currently employ, twenty-one apprentices, nineteen of whom are joiners with one wall and floor tiler and one construction technician.

How are apprentices unlocking potential for your business?

There are many benefits to employing apprentices, the main one being, to fuel the organic growth of the business via planned, strategic, and consistent investment in young people and growing a pipeline of well trained and motivated individuals who not only add to our success but also to the growth of our industry.

The vast majority of our workforce have served apprenticeships and we find that this practical, experience-based approach develops the workforce, so much so, that nearly all of our Site Managers and Supervisors come from a trade background.

Compass is fully committed to the creation of quality long term employment opportunities whilst at the same time encouraging individuals to attain the highest levels of achievement and service that is expected by us and demanded by our clients.

Why would you encourage other employers to invest in apprenticeships?

The employment of apprentices is not just of short term benefit to the employer, it’s a long term investment for the individual and the industry as a whole.

By employing an apprentice, you are able to develop a young person into a tradesperson, with the training, skills and experience to carry out the tasks for your business to meet your needs and requirements.

By employing apprentices, we are able to offer an alternative to college or university, that allows young people to gain practical experience and develop their skills, whilst paying them a wage which allows us to maintain investment, employment and opportunities for our personnel operating within and contributing to the communities in which we operate.

What’s it been like taking on apprentices?

For us, generally taking on apprentices has been relatively straightforward, although, like most things in life, there will be things to iron out, however we have found that with the assistance of the colleges, the CITB and other partners including Developing the Young Workforce, Skills Development Scotland and Apprentices.Scot we have been able to overcome most of this.

As a business we gain a lot of satisfaction from seeing our apprentices develop into confident, mature individuals passing their skills tests and completing their apprenticeships.

We now have employees, that after completing their apprenticeship, have attended University on a part time basis and have successfully completed degree qualifications. These individuals now undertake important roles in our business.

What advice would you give as an employer to another employer who is looking to take on an apprentice?

We would recommend that anyone thinking about employing an apprentice should just do it. The benefits far outweigh any time taken to set the wheels in motion and there’s lots of help and support out there to take the first step on the ladder.