Croydon-based PF Whitehead is one of the UK’s largest transportation logistics providers with a large range of blue chip clients, including B&Q, IKEA and Young and Co Brewery. A family run firm with more than 30 years’ experience, the company recalls the days when apprentice drivers were taken on regularly but this stopped once insurance premiums increased to such an extent as to make the apprenticeships non-viable for anyone under 25.

Now, thanks to SLB Logistics’ Apprenticeship Training Agency, a work placement for a young person has been found once more. Tom Coyne, aged 18, from South Norwood, has been carrying out warehouse and stock control duties since July and his enthusiasm and commitment has led to the firm expanding his tasks to include direct dealing with customers.

‘He’s a breath of fresh air around the place. He’s a good lad who wants to work,’ says managing director Peter Whitehead. ‘He asked us if he could do more so now he is working in the office as well as in the warehouse. He is learning about the whole business, seeing how the whole process operates.’

Mr Whitehead says he cannot speak highly enough of the system operated by SLB Logistics which matches the apprentice to the firm, carries out all the HR tasks and pays the apprentice £95 per week. SLB also oversees the apprentice’s NVQ training which, in Tom’s case, is carried out on PF Whitehead’s premises so as not to take him away from the job.

As for Tom, he is enjoying the experience and challenge of being part of the PF Whitehead team. ‘I left school at 16 and didn’t manage to get into college so started working from then on. I heard about this apprenticeship scheme through a friend, he says, adding: ‘This is a very good place to work. I see myself staying here.’

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