Briggs Equipment has heavily invested in a national ‘apprenticeship scheme’ to train and educate school leavers into becoming fully qualified and multi-skilled engineers.
The 4-year programme takes students through their National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2 and Level 3 and consists of both on-the-job learning at Briggs’ head office in Cannock (or based with one of its field teams to accommodate students from across the UK) plus theoretical training at college.
The first year of the apprenticeship scheme focuses on inducting students to their roles in either Briggs’ workshop or out in the field where they gain general, all-round engineering knowledge. During the second year, they are assigned practical tasks including carrying out supervised routine service and maintenance work, which provides more hands-on experience. They attend nine weeks of classroom based learning at college with three weeks training in a workshop environment.
Apprentices are placed permanently in their specific field throughout their third and fourth years and are qualified to level 3 NVQ. This allows them to work alone with the support and guidance of experienced colleagues but with a direct route back to the training team. Workshop based students will be given their own bay and field based students are issued with a fully equipped service vehicle.
Last year, Briggs welcomed six new recruits who are now fully integrated members of Briggs’ team of engineers.
Briggs Equipment – Homebase forklift operator training programme
In September 2011 Briggs Equipment constructed a unique training programme for its long-standing customer, Homebase, in the style of a competition to test the driving skills of its forklift operators from across the UK.
The ‘Homebase Driver Challenge’ event, held at Homebase Distribution in Northamptonshire, focused the drivers’ attention on health and safety and damage reduction in an entertaining way and drew on the competitive spirit of the 38 drivers taking part.
Participants took part in two heats of timed trials complementing everyday forklift application duties and the top drivers from these heats competed in five different trials during the final to win the ‘Driver of the Year’ title.
Briggs held the competition to encourage Homebase drivers to operate trucks using safe working practices at all times. Participants were judged by Mentor FLT Training Ltd which looked for consistency of speed, accuracy and safety throughout all of the games.
The challenge was greatly received by the Homebase operators who really benefitted from the training element of the competition. It was a way to ensure that training remained consistent throughout the UK.
PF Whitehead Transport Services Ltd
PF Whitehead was one of the first companies to sign up to the South London Business Apprenticeship Scheme, undertaking the on-site training of three apprentices, who have now all been subsequently employed directly by the company. Whitehead has recently taken on another two apprentices.
The company’s training plans are designed to ensure that all personnel can be developed to their fullest potential: his or her manager mentors each member of staff and each individual’s skills are regularly measured to identify areas for training and development. Team managers hold regular informal meetings with their teams, where honest, open discussion is encouraged.
Although much of Whitehead’s training and assessments are managed and delivered in-house, the company invests significantly in outside training expertise such as NVQ assessments and CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) training, as well as ISO inspections and other industry-related inspections.
The ongoing training and development of its staff, has been a key factor in PF Whitehead’s ability to both sustain and grow its customer base, through the delivery of consistently high customer service and performance levels.