My name is Chloe Gooding and I work for a Facilities Management company called Phosters FM Ltd. In simple terms, facilities management encompasses a range of services to ensure the functionality, comfort, safety and efficiency of our client’s buildings and structures. Our Head Office is based in Kidderminster, but we operate across the entirety of the UK and Ireland, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our client base includes a very large national distribution company, RAF bases and many building management companies throughout the UK. The company has around 1500 employees who either work at our Head Office or are a part of our Hard or Soft Services teams who work out at our client’s sites. Due to the nature of the works we carry out, we have lots of different job roles. We have a dedicated team of engineers who have a range of skill sets; electrical engineers, gas engineers, plumbers and facilities engineers who all respond to our client’s needs. In addition to this, our Soft Services team offer commercial cleaning and we have a wide range of job roles within our Head Office. Some of these include, Key Account Managers, Health & Safety roles, I.T Support, Recruitment, Procurement, Business Development and many, many more.
My role at Phosters is Learning & Development coordinator. My main duties are to ensure all members of staff are sufficiently trained to carry out the tasks involved with their job role, support with the inductions of new staff and I am a mentor to all our apprentices. I work within the Business Support team and work closely alongside HR.
I first joined Phosters in 2013 after finishing my undergraduate degree. I worked as a Helpdesk Operative whilst waiting to do my PGCE the following year. After 4 years of being a Primary School teacher, I was approached by the company with the opportunity to join the L&D department due to the growing number of apprentices and the growth of the company. I decided to make the move in 2018 and I can honestly say I’ve never looked back. Although I don’t have any formal business qualifications, I am really fortunate that I still get to apply skills from my teaching qualification in a different working environment, whilst supporting our apprentices.
Phosters has been hiring apprentices since 2015 and take on new apprentices every year. We currently have 5 apprentices completing their Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship who are employed across different departments of the business. We were extremely privileged to win Medium Apprenticeship Employer of the Year and the overall Apprenticeship Employer of the year at the last Worcestershire Apprenticeship awards in 2019. We always see this event as a way to celebrate the success and the personal journeys of our apprentices.
We typically offer employment for apprentices who are enrolled on the Business Administration programme, however in the past we have also taken on Accountancy apprentices. Although our apprentices are all doing the same course, they are all carrying out different roles within the company and therefore are all exposed to different roles and responsibilities. We currently have apprentices working in HR, Operations, Soft Services, and our Accounts division.
We see that employing apprentices is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled, and qualified workforce. Apprentices tend to adapt quickly to the ‘Phosters way’ because it is usually their first ‘proper job’. Apprentices also bring skills that current employees can draw from. They usually are extremely computer literate and we have seen in the past, apprentices offer support to current employees when new IT programmes have been introduced.
When interviewing potential apprentices, we look for someone who has drive and ambition, a want to succeed, personality and a certain level of confidence. We do recognise that for many of our apprentices having an interview with us may be their first time in an interview situation and nerves may get the better of them! Getting personality and skills across is vital as we aim to place our apprentices in appropriate roles with well-suited mentors.
I think it is important to be yourself. Employers want to get to know who they are potentially bringing on and where they will add the most value in the organisation. Also, with limited employment experiences to draw from, it is important for apprentices to get across areas they have enjoyed at school, personal interests, and their long-term career goals. During an interview, try to speak clearly and maintain eye contact with your interviewer(s). And finally, always make sure you do some background research on the business as this demonstrates your interest in the job opportunity!
When completing applications, make sure they are concise but still include all of your attributes that make you an ideal candidate for the job. In regard to your CV, try to create an engaging and well-structed document that employers will be instantly drawn towards. Employer’s usually have a number of CVs and applications to look through and may only skim read text. Therefore, think about key words that they would pick up on and layouts that can easily be read. Before submitting any applications or your CV make sure you proofread for spelling and grammar errors. It is also a good idea to ask somebody else to proofread as a back-up check.
Our company has been extremely lucky during the pandemic as we have continued to operate as normal. Due to increased activity from one of our major clients, we have remained incredibly busy throughout and have even continued to expand our workforce. Our Soft Services division has quadrupled in size since the beginning of the pandemic.
Want to get involved with apprenticeships? Check out the Apprenticeship page on our website.