Training providers Optimum Skills are supporting a neighbouring joinery firm to recruit young staff and support its growth.
Optimum are providing top new talent to Kensington Specialist Joinery after recruiting an apprentice joiner and business admin assistant.
And a third apprentice is already in the pipeline as Kensington look to build on its rapid rise.
The firm only launched at its Beaumont Way premises in 2017 with two company directors.
After a raft of contract wins the company was up to 20 staff – but they now employ 30 staff and counting, and Optimum Skills are helping to future-proof the business by recruiting the firm’s future workforce.
Joseph Shields joined as an apprentice in July last year and attends Optimum’s bespoke construction academy in Darlington one day a week
“I’ve found the practical experience invaluable,” said the 18-year-old, from Darlington.
“I’ve learned how to fix units together, how to make and finish doors – I’m loving it.”
Ellie Nevison was the next Optimum apprentice to join Kensington last October in a business admin role.
“I’ve learned lots of new skills,” said Ellie, 18, from Ferryhill. “I very much see this as a career.”
Meanwhile, 18-year-old Lauryn Alderson, from Newton Aycliffe, is on her work placement at Kensington through the traineeship programme and is hoping to start her business admin apprenticeship this summer.
“I wanted to get into business admin so this has led me into something I want to do with my career,” said former Woodham Academy student Lauryn.
Kensington contracts manager Duane Beagle says he’s delighted with the service provided by Optimum Skills so far.
“They’re all very hard-working and have been keen to get stuck in,” he said.
“They’ve been willing to learn and they’ve fitted in really well. It’s important not to give them too much responsibility while they’re learning the ropes, but they’re all showing great promise.
“Developing young people is hugely important and we’re keen to develop more apprentices going forward, particularly on the manufacturing side.”
Optimum Skills was set up in November 2013 with a handful of staff and now employs 37 people from its premises at Bede House on Aycliffe Business Park.
The firm works with businesses across the North-East region and specialises in niche areas of training, and is passionate about helping young people with little work experience progress into Apprenticeships.
Optimum offer fully-flexible traineeship programmes to ensure that trainees have the right skills and knowledge to meet the requirements of industry and that businesses gain employees who have established workready skills and knowledge.
The 14-week programmes enables young people to learn vital life skills and to prove themselves to employers that they have the attitude and qualities to progress into Apprenticeships.
Client relationship manager Richard Keirl said: “Due to ongoing expansion we will also currently have trainee and apprenticeship opportunities in the trade and workshop environment we are currently recruiting for.
“We have also recently developed further links with companies such as Crafters Companion, who have a trainee doing her placement in business admin. She’s thriving and been given the opportunity to gain knowledge across all departments.
“We also have strong relations with Arlington automotive and DKD manufacturing, so it’s fantastic to see organisations on Aycliffe Business Park jumping on board, realising the potential of young people in the area and their passion to develop their skills and kick start their career.”
Optimum Skills have their next cohort starting at their Head Office in Newton Aycliffe and in Bishop Auckland for routeways to all apprenticeships from business admin to butchery, teaching assistant to warehouse and for those wanting to start their construction careers in their Darlington Construction Academy.
“This programme is a great way to support young people who perhaps have worries due to not getting the grades they expected from dreaded GCSE’s or need a little guidance and support,” added Optimum’s Sarah Porteous.