Carbon-neutral property developer Beech Holdings will take on six more apprentices this year as it continues with its ambitious growth plans.
The Manchester-based residential developer already has four youngsters on its payroll, who work in architectural design, construction and maintenance.
Six new apprentices are set to be hired within the next six months – boosting the company’s headcount to more than 85 people.
The announcement comes after the Government last year revealed plans to have three million apprentices working for companies across the country by 2020.
Manchester-born Stephen Beech is the founder of Beech Holdings, which takes unloved, forgotten buildings in prime locations in Manchester city centre and creates environmentally sustainable and efficiently designed apartments.
The company now owns £65 million worth of residential housing stock in Greater Manchester, including 17 significant city centre buildings and another 100 properties in the region.
Stephen, 38, said apprenticeships are vital to the firm and the wider economy.
He said: “We’ve been pushing the apprentices on our scheme of late due to the growth we are seeing across the company. It’s vital that we nurture the young talent across the region and embed them within what is a strong family orientated culture that provides both job security and rewarding careers.
“Joel Hughes was the first success story on our apprenticeship scheme. He’s 22 years old and has set a fantastic example to our other apprentices, having worked his way up in the maintenance team to become a full-time employee after two years of hands-on learning.
“We also have a handful of other apprentices working in our various in-house departments at the moment with more appointments also due in the six months.”
Charlie Griesbach, 17, has recently embarked on a design apprenticeship and is involved in all aspects of design including surveying, measuring and drawing up.
He said: “Beech Holdings is a great place to work, it’s very family orientated and everyone is so welcoming. Every day I learn something new.”
Also on the books are Luke Davidson, 17, also in the design department and Leon Chamberlain, 18, in the construction department.
Joel Hughes said he landed his apprenticeship after carrying out a number of work experience shifts at Beech Holdings.
He said: “Maintenance manager Steve Gee saw something in me and asked me if I would like to come on as an apprentice full time.
“At Beech nothing is ever pressured. They make you feel at home, it’s a great place to work.
“I felt part of the team straight away and we regularly sit down and talk about things.
“Through getting the apprenticeship I have also passed my electrical exams and started doing driving lessons, sponsored by the company.”
Maintenance manager and apprentice mentor Steve Gee said: “We can take someone on right from school and they aren’t just being taught about maintenance but get to work in all areas of the business.
“They also learn a few life skills as well along the way.
“I think with a growing company like ours it’s nice to bring young people through on a long-term basis. I think that’s always good for any business.
“Apprenticeships are great for me – it’s great to have somebody with enthusiasm and youth. You can learn a lot yourself from having someone young around – it works both ways.
“Joel is an example to the other apprentices thanks to his fantastic work ethic and focus. He has a great attitude towards his learning so we ensure he has the support he needs to thrive within the company.”
He added: “It is the easy route to just go and work somewhere for the minimum wage but it takes commitment and ambition to take on the challenges of an apprenticeship. What’s also great for the apprentices is that once they prove themselves, they have job security. It’s very demanding and it’s not an easy ride but it’s worthwhile.”
Founder Stephen said the company and its staff have come a long way in a short time.
“Every staff member is crucial to our success as a company. Hiring apprentices and graduates is important to us as the more senior members of the staff get the chance to lead younger members of the team and build our philosophy as a company from the ground up.”
The National Apprenticeship Show is set to be held at Manchester Central next month on October 18th and 19th.