CR Smith’s bespoke apprenticeship programme is celebrating four years in operation. Tailored specifically to meet the skills required by the home improvement firm in collaboration with Fife College, the scheme is on its second intake of apprentices and represents an investment of more than £100,000 by the firm in its future workforce.
Eleven apprentices are currently enrolled and are developing the high level of skills demanded by CR Smith. The apprenticeship also teaches the importance of customer service and what it means to represent the company brand.
Unlike traditional apprenticeships, CR Smith apprentice joiners attend classes in the evening, which are delivered by Fife College. This gives them more quality time on the job, learning from experienced tradespeople and gaining the skills they need to become an integral part of the workforce.
A workshop has been specifically built for the apprentices at CR Smith and has all the facilities required to carry out the training modules, tailored to meet the needs of the company.
The programme was launched in 2015 and is aligned to City & Guilds accreditation. The first class of ten apprentices completed their apprenticeship and are now working as joiners with CR Smith.
Ian Macfarlane, Managing Director at CR Smith, has been the driving force behind the apprenticeship programme.
“Investment in our people is essential and creating our own customised apprenticeship programme, as well as addressing a potential skill shortage, demonstrates our ongoing commitment to grow the business through young people.
“The delivery of many existing apprenticeship programmes was not entirely practical for our business, therefore we spent time with Fife College creating a more sustainable programme that works for us. It covers all the essential joinery skills and also includes the additional craftsmanship we need for our luxury hardwood internal finishes. The course also puts a lot of emphasis on equipping the apprentices with a wider range of skills that we hope will give them a great start to their career.”
Jan Thomson, Director of Business Development at Fife College, agrees that the CR Smith apprenticeship programme represents a hugely successful partnership.
“It has been extremely rewarding working with CR Smith to create its bespoke apprenticeship programme and as a college we welcome the opportunity to work with local businesses in this way.
“The CR Smith programme is a model that includes traditional joinery alongside other vital skills. It is officially certified, which is very important to those taking part.
“We found the first group of apprentices to be incredibly enthusiastic. The programme can be quite demanding at times, so it is a huge credit to them that they committed to enhance their skills and knowledge in this way.”
James and Shane David (22 & 23yrs) successfully completed the CR Smith apprenticeship and now fully qualified, the two brothers from Dunfermline are working together as a squad.
According to the pair, it required a lot of commitment, but was “definitely worth it in the end”.
Both James and Shane have families and one of their main motivations for doing the apprenticeship was to provide for them. As James said, “this was to better ourselves so that we could do better for them”.
According to Shane, the real benefit of the apprenticeship was being on-site each day and “the reward of seeing a job through from start to finish. It was invaluable experience as I got to learn from experienced joiners”.
Ian Macfarlane is full of praise for James and Shane. He added:
“The manner in which both James and Shane approached the apprenticeship is a credit to them and it is fantastic to see their development. They and the other apprentice graduates should be immensely proud of what they achieved; they’ve set a brilliant example to our new class of apprentices.”