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Taking charge of the training

A Bolton businessman has decided to offer his own in-house apprenticeship programme to address the skills shortage in his industry.

Pierre Simmons runs refrigeration and air-conditioning specialists STS UK in Atherton and has ambitions to expand his current operation of half a dozen engineers to over a hundred. However, he says the current apprenticeship courses on offer often fail to get students fully work-ready at the end of the course. He is now planning to launch his own training premises in-house, and hopes to be Ofsted approved by 2018 to deliver fully certified apprenticeship training courses. “Our apprenticeship programme will be very practical and hands on.

Apprentices will be taught how to deliver a service and apply the principles they learn to real systems and situations. Processes will be put in place to enable the apprentices to find the fault and deliver the best solution. We will also concentrate our training in the quiet months so that they can get real-life experience during the busy summer months. This will help businesses to service their customers when it matters."

It makes sense for us to design the training for our industry as we know it best, just as rolls Royce or BAE systems do." It is ambitious and we expect getting ofsted and NVQ accreditation will be tough but we think it's the best solution for our own expansion and will also benefit the industry as a whole.”

Pierre is already writing the course, and hopes to have his first ‘students’ in and learning by September. Further down the line, when he’s accredited as an official training provider, he hopes to deliver training for his sector, helping other refrigeration and air-conditioning businesses to upskill staff to industry standards. He has already taken out a lease on the premises next door and has started turning it into a training work shop.