Apprenticeships at Paint the Town Green
One month down, thirty-five to go. The excitement of running an apprenticeship programme is still creating a buzz at Paint the Town Green. It had been a dream of Phil’s since he started the company, so for it to now be a reality, is a big moment for us. Coupled with the fact we have two really awesome apprentices – Beverley and Nate - makes it even more special. They had to undergo an interview process to get the role with us and they both stood out as eager to learn, hard-workers, with a passion for painting and decorating.
They are being mentored by Kimani and Peter who really care about the programme and have a lot of knowledge to share. We asked both Beverley and Nate what they would like to of achieved by the end of the three years. Both were unanimous – they wanted to look back and feel proud of themselves, of the jobs they had worked on and think of themselves as skilled decorators. We loved this because Pride is one of our core values.
We kicked off things off with an induction to Paint the Town Green – in this session we talked about our history, our ways of working, environmental impact, customer service as well as a decorating 101. Nate says the customer service advice really stuck with him, which is music to our ears - delighting clients is one of our measures of success so we wanted our apprentices to understand what this meant from day 1. We even included a question about it in the application form to ensure those we chose we people who understood the importance. Beverley loved hearing about the work we are doing to reduce our environmental impact – “the seeded postcards that you rip up when you’re done is a really smart idea - protecting the environment from waste and creating more plants!”
The Apprentices were given a goody bag by Phil to ensure they were well equipped for their jobs and they were soon put to good use on their first job. We didn’t start them off lightly – they were thrown in the deep end and given the really important task of giving our office a refresh – but of course the mentors and Phil were on hand to support. When we told them this was their first job with us, Beverley thought “What a fun challenge. I felt like I was in the right place and being shown how to take the right steps in a professional manner” whilst Nate said “I felt a little pressure because I realised everyone who goes there will see and critique as we are a painting firm, but at the same time I felt happy because it was nice that Phil had trust in us, his apprentices”.
The timing was also perfect, as we had our Summer Party at the end of their first week, so they got to meet the whole team and we celebrated lots of achievements.
Since then under the watchful eye of our Mentors, the Apprentices have been spending four days a week on projects and one day a week at college. We are trying to mirror the college programme with them to ensure that what they learn really sticks. Their desire to learn is so strong that we have to remind them to take the pressure off a little bit and just accept they are new to this and learning – “Like anything new, it was a bit wobbly but I’m finding my feet with it. There is time for everything and it is going well” says Beverley, and Nate now recognises “if I am not sure with anything, I know I can always ask”.
So what do our Mentors think, now the dust has started to settle? Kimani says “I’ve not been an official mentor before but I have worked with many people starting out, so I try and stick to the same principles of finding the best way that each person learns and then once you have that, it sticks." Peter says "I try and give tips on how to be more productive, cleaner, more aware of how building site functions. I hope that the time spend with me is productive. I like it when an apprentice has a dash of good attitude and bit of humour."
When asked how he has found working with a mentor so far, Nate said “It’s good because they have so much experience so I’m taking in so much information and learning tricks of the trade” whilst Beverley says “It’s been such an amazing experience learning from a mentor first hand with so many tips and techniques. It has been an eye opener. Encouraging words and always supportive.”
Phil is really encouraged with how things have started “In that first induction session with Beverley and Nate, I thought their energy and enthusiasm was so encouraging and the feedback from the Mentors is that is continuing to define their performances on site. Kimani and Peter are relishing their roles of challenging this enthusiasm into talent and knowledge.”
So here we are, starting the month two. We will keep you posted on how our team are doing over the course of the three years but for those wondering whether an apprenticeship might work for them – we hope this inspires you to give it a go.