Eleven aspiring joiners will this month take up their places on the bespoke CR Smith apprenticeship scheme that has been carefully developed by CR Smith and Fife College to meet the skills required by the home improvement business.
As well as developing the quality of workmanship needed for installing the CR Smith Lorimer range of windows, doors and living spaces, the new apprentices will hopefully represent the brand for years to come.
Unlike traditional apprenticeships, these apprentice joiners attend classes in the evenings, 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.
The unique CR Smith apprenticeship programme, which is aligned to City & Guilds accreditation, represents an investment of more than £100,000 over the past three years by the firm. A workshop has been specifically built for the apprentices and has all the facilities required to carry out the training modules, which are tailored to meet the needs of the company.
The new recruits are the second intake of apprentices onto this programme – the first class of ten have completed their current studies and are working as joiners.
Ian Macfarlane, Managing Director at CR Smith, has been the driving force behind the apprenticeship programme. He said: “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 developing the apprentices with a wider range of skills that we hope will give them a great start to their career.”
Ian also praised the flexibility that Fife College had in supporting and developing the course. He commented: “We have forged an excellent partnership with Fife College, in particular Frazer Walker, Carpentry and Joinery Tutor, who is fantastically dedicated and a great inspiration to our apprentices.”
Jan Thomson, Director of Business Development at Fife College, agrees that the CR Smith apprenticeship programme represents a hugely successful partnership. She said: “It has been extremely rewarding working with CR Smith to create their bespoke apprenticeship programme and as a college we welcome the opportunity to work with local businesses in this way.