Trend boosts its apprenticeship scheme to include its partners

Building for the future of the building-controls industry — just some of 50 apprentices recruited by Trend Control Systems and its partner system integrators. Jennifer Fyson, manager of the apprentice scheme, is towards the right.
The apprentice scheme of Trend Control Systems has recruited 50 new apprentices this year. Seven are employed directly by Trend and the rest by 26 Trend partner companies — independent building-system integrators which install Trend products. There were 550 applications for these apprenticeships. Tim Darkes, managing director of Trend Control Systems, says, ‘For many years, Trend has successfully recruited and trained apprentices, providing them with certificated qualifications, along with Trend product training and hands-on learning. ‘However, Trend partners have not always been able to match this resource, so they requested our help to fill the industry-wide need for new technicians. ‘The fact that we received 550 applications this year shows clearly that many young people are attracted to a technical career in building services. We hope those we were unable to employ are successful in finding training elsewhere within the industry.’ At the start of the 2007/07 school year, Trend did not have an apprentice scheme that supported its partners and asked Trend project manager Loretta Wootton, who had herself served an apprenticeship, to ascertain the needs and concerns of partner companies. Following the success of this scheme, Jennifer Fyson was appointed manager of the scheme to repeat the recruitment process for 2008’s intake. To attract applicants, Trend used Connexions Direct, a nationwide service to help people aged 14 to 19 to find colleges or choose careers, and EEF, which runs a nationwide web site to find apprentices. Trend used a 3-part online aptitude test to aid selection. It was provided by SHL Group, with tests for numeracy, language and dependability selected to ensure the individual would be able to cope technically, be able to communicate effectively with customers and have the right attitude. Loretta Wootton observes, ‘Interestingly, it was the people with the highest dependability score who were most likely to be among the 50 selected for apprenticeships.’
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