Success for a finance superstar
An apprentice with an outstanding attitude to work has wowed her employers so much they wish they could replicate her.
Nadia Begum, aged 19, is a finance assistant at Nemesis Now, a fantasy giftware wholesaler based in Stoke-on-Trent.
After just one year in the job, Nadia has made herself indispensable, and her manager Wendy Hemmings believes the young apprentice will make it to the top.
Wendy said: “We had a lot of difficulties finding an assistant bookkeeper, and I thought the role might be suitable for an apprentice because we could teach them the way we work.
“Nadia arrived from PM Training and from the beginning she was confident, willing to learn, and had the right experience.
“Everything dropped into place, and when she has completed her level 3, we are planning to train her in AAT, professional accounting qualifications.
“We want to invest in her future and develop Nadia in our company, to enable her to support our customers, suppliers and each other.”
The creative company launched in 2002 and has expanded over the years. It started supplying to small shops initially, but it has grown dramatically and now employs 27 people, exporting throughout Europe and further afield.
In recent years, six apprentices have worked at Nemesis Now. But despite the growth, the company still nurtures a unique approach to staffing which promotes excellence in everything they achieve.
Wendy said: “We’re not like a normal company, our staff get involved in every part of the business.
“Often, a customer will describe a new product to the sales team, and they’ll work with the designers to develop the idea, and involve the purchasing department.
“There is a lot of collaboration and it’s important for staff to know every part of the company.”
Nemesis Now has recently relocated from its original base in Sutherland Road to City Road in Stoke-on-Trent after outgrowing the former site.
Nadia is proud to be working for the successful firm and can see her long-term future there.
She said: “I’m really happy I found this job, it’s launched my career and I can see clear progression in my future.
“I would recommend PM Training to other young people. I joined in September 2014 and stayed until March 2015. In that time I learned a lot of valuable business admin skills, including researching and how to make a good impression on people.
“Now I have a job I enjoy and I‘m learning new things all the time.”
Brown Recycling, in Sneyd Hill, is a family company with 24 office staff and 56 drivers and operatives.
They have partnered with PM Training for the past four years, and in that time 20 members of staff have completed NVQs in either business admin, customer services or team leader qualifications.
Dominique Brown, Compliance Director, said: “Our staff were often already working in these areas but they do not realise the skill and ability they had.
“Getting certified helps to prove this and increases their confidence in their own capabilities.
“One of the best parts of working with PM Training is the convenience for our business, the assessor comes to our offices once a week and spends time with a few of the staff during each visit.
“They can also hold the exams here in our meeting room, it is verystraightforward.
“Most staff take between a year and 18 months to achieve their qualification, and we often promote from within the company after people have gained their NVQ.”
Brown Recycling is a local success story with a proud family history. The company was set up by Dominique’s great grandfather in 1926 and it now boasts three sites with purpose built offices in Sneyd Hill, just a stone’s throw from where the fledgling firm began.
Dominique knows that the ‘family company’ feel is worth preserving.
She said: “Although the company has grown, and staff turnover has increased, we still have many loyal, long serving staff who have been here for decades.
“For us, helping colleagues to improve their qualifications is a big morale boost and it helps to retain our great staff.
“I cannot see any reason why we wouldn’t train our staff, especially as the qualifications are funded by the government.
“We prefer to use the services of great local companies, and the team at PM Training have always worked hard to make sure everything is convenient for us.
“I would recommend PM Training’s NVQs to other companies in the area, it just makes sense.”
JPR Engineering, in North Street, Stoke, employs 120 staff, and their commitment to the next generation is apparent in every part of the business. There are 22 apprentices on the payroll, this equates to more than 18% of the overall workforce.
Managing director, John Moran partnered with PM Training three years ago after a tour round the Atlas Works training centre in Hanley.
John said: “I have confidence in what PM Training do. They look after the lads and work with me to make sure we get the best results.
“Our partnership has resulted in eight young people being taken on directly through PM this year.
“The training centre is run like a boot camp, there’s no hoodies, learner’s pay is docked if they are late and there is no messing about. The young lads learn respect and they have to step up.
“PM Training’s approach has been a revelation to me, and I would genuinely recommend them to others.”
John is passionate about apprenticeships because he is living proof of the opportunities they can create. He started his career as an apprentice at Radway Green Ordnance Factory and has risen through the ranks to be where he
He said: “I was trained well and I always wanted to repay that by doing something similar for someone else.
“I respected my training, and while it can cost a company time and money,
I believe it’s more of a risk not to train your staff.”
Established in 1972, JPR Engineering quickly grew from being an electrical contractor in the pottery industry to becoming a one-stop-shop for all mechanical and electrical needs.
The company now has a fleet of 70 vehicles and proudly employs 100% of its workforce from Staffordshire postcodes. They are local and proud, but their expertise is valued much further afield, they regularly win national and international contracts in a highly competitive market.
John knows variety is important when training the next generation, he said:
“We make sure all the apprentices work in different departments and get plenty of experience with a range of first class tradesmen.
“This helps them decide what they are good at, and what they want to focus on in the future.
“Young people are vibrant, they offer their enthusiasm to the business and that has a good impact on those around them.
“When I recruit a new apprentice I look for someone who is well presented, has the right qualifications and can bring that something different to the business, whether it’s a spark of enthusiasm, or confidence, or a determination
“Apprentices are vital to JPR Engineering because they are the future leaders of this business.”
Daniel’s Delights, has recently moved to a new factory in Montrose Street, Fenton, and Ken Harrison, managing director is planning to double the business in the next five years.
He has taken on two apprentices from PM Training this year and in the future that figure is set to increase, with plans to employ 10 new apprentices.
The father-of-three said: “We started the business in 2007 because my wife Jen couldn’t find work so she started making wedding favours, and I made the chocolates to go inside them.
“Now we have 15 members of staff, 80 flavours of chocolate and we are exporting to Hong Kong.
“We never imagined the business would grow like this, we started in our kitchen and now we’re in a 12,000 sq ft factory, it’s fantastic to be able to create local jobs, especially for young people.”
Daniel’s Delights supplies chocolates to customers based across the UK and to the Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe which is opening its second Hong Kong shop in April.
They have recently opened a factory shop, Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm, at the Fenton factory.
Ken heard about PM Training through a friend and the partnership has become an important part of his business plan.
He said: “Our two apprentices Ryan and Brandon are working in production and packing, and I’m pleased with the way they have worked out.
“Having apprentices was not something I had originally planned but when you realise how well PM Training work with you as an employer it makes sense.
They ensure you have what you require for your business, I would recommend them to anyone.”
The Kidsgrove-based family company was established in 1987 and ‘giving something back’ has always been at the heart of what they do.
Matthew Ekin, line manager, said: “Long before the term ‘corporate social value’ was created, we naturally helped and supported people in the local area.
“We sponsor cricket, rugby and football teams, and a local PDC darts player. And over the years we’ve trained about 30 apprentices in the business. We raise money for charities and we recently sent a colleague to Brazil to help build a sports centre there.”
Lench works with a range of different training providers in the region to offer apprenticeship places for young people in trowel occupations and construction operations.
They partnered with PM Training three years ago and since then, three young people from PM Training have been taken on by the company. The company is also a member of SEWM – Social Enterprise West Midlands.
Lench apprentices get the opportunity to learn about all aspects of house and industrial building projects operating across the Midlands.
Nigel Thomas, commercial director, said: “We are quite a young company and the only way to grow the business is to encourage young people by teaching them and investing in them.
“We gel with PM Training because we are able to meet a lot of young people at events and tell them about what our industry is like.
“This is a vibrant industry with plenty of opportunities for successful careers and that’s a message which needs to be shared.”
As part of Seddon’s commitment to training, employment and the local community, they set up a partnership with PM Training to maximise social value within their company projects in 2014.
The partnership was created so that appointed sub contractors were committed to delivering training and employment opportunities locally through PM Training as a preferred provider of apprenticeships and training. Since its inception this has been growing continuously with supply chain companies discovering the impact of apprentices and staff development.
The programme also captures the importance of local schools through joint construction careers talks, open days and work experience with PM Training and Seddon. Over 250 students including NEETs have been reached since its inception as part of Seddon Social Value KPIs.
The relationship enables Seddon to offer a wide range of opportunities to young people throughout Stoke-on-Trent.
Importantly, the partnership enables Seddon supply chain businesses to understand the value of apprentices, with six sub contractors working with PM Training to recruit work-ready apprentices and a further five being appointed to Seddon themselves.
The appointment of PM Training as a valued partner to Seddon has created sustainable employment opportunities for young people and helped broaden the reach of apprenticeships within North Staffordshire.
In addition, PM Training has trained over 100 of Listers staff over the past decade, including providing support to train an in-house assessor and training the entire commercial team to level 3 NVQ. And, as if that wasn’t enough of a vote of confidence, Listers has also put 33 of its customers through NVQ training with another 10 due to start in November, so they can meet the requirements of government legislation.
“We use PM Training because our way of working fits with what they do,” says Alan Howley, Production Manager. “PM Training wants to encourage and promote the younger generation and they offer a professional approach in finding the right apprentice for the right job.
“From our point of view we also want to encourage a new generation into work, but we also want to build our workforce for the long term. We have many examples of apprentices who have joined us from PM Training, and they’ve gone on to achieve their qualifications and become an essential part of the Listers team.”
Listers also provide training through Alan who is an assessor himself. Mike Canavan, PM Training skills development manager, says: “We have developed a strong bond with Listers because of the breadth of training we provide and the fact they have their own assessor.
“They ensure all their customers are trained and we provide qualifications in business administration, customer service, management and glazing. It is a trusting relationship that benefits them as much as it does us.”
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