As one of Cornwall’s leading independent construction companies, RG Kellow invests heavily in employee training and development.
It currently employs four apprentices – electrical, carpentry, painting and decorating and multi-trade – who study through Cornwall College.
HR manager Lorraine Collins said: “We strongly believe that if you hand-pick your apprentices and get the correct person for your company, then they will flourish.
“It’s not cheap labour – that’s not the way to think about it. It’s investing in the future of your employees, of your trade and of your company.”
RG Kellow has a team of around 30 highly-skilled employees, running a fleet of 20 vehicles from a head office in Pool, Redruth.
Over the past seven years the company has invested in more than 10 successful apprenticeships – with huge interest following its recent apprentice recruitment campaign.
Its apprentices have been a mix of school leavers, current employees who have skills but no qualifications, and older people seeking a career change.
“There are many specialist areas in construction, such as plumbing and heating, floor laying and trowel occupation,” explained Lorraine. “But hands-on trades are dying, so from our point-of-view if we invest in the younger generation we not only keep these skills alive, but we are investing in the construction industry of the future.
“Some trades are more popular than others, but we had around 40 applications for four apprenticeship places on our last round.
“There are definite benefits for our business, as well as for the apprentices. We want to grow our business and grow top-class people with it. Apprentices help us do that. We’ve had people that have worked in carpentry, for example, for years and who want to pass down their skills. Apprentices want to learn.
“We have many success stories – some who are still with us, some who have gone on to have careers elsewhere – and we feel very lucky.”