Taken from the North Devon Journal:
Scaffold Firm Apprentices get safety Know-how
Construction is no stranger to regulations. As well as knowing how to work safely, understanding the regulations can be a challenge in itself. Apprenticeships are one way of ensuring new entrants to the industry establish good habits from the start as well as improving their employers' ability to bid for more projects.
Advanced Scaffolding (SW) Ltd, of Ilfracombe and Barnstaple currently employs three apprentices: two school leavers and a 21-year-old.
The company works with the Construction Industry Training Board and the apprentices receive their training in Birmingham at one of the CITB's three national training colleges.
Matt Bacon who started the company, was himself trained by CITB and sees advantages in training from many aspects. "The lads are learning about scaffolding every day and when they go away to college they get taught the new legislation. They learn exactly how it should be done," he said.
Matt added that qualifications and knowledge of legislation are important, especially when working for the larger contractors.
Some are wary of allowing under-18s on site for safety reasons and apprentices' training and qualifications can allay their concerns.
The Company's ongoing training programme ensures that scaffolders have a thorough knowledge of all types of scaffolding and the current codes of practice.
All Advanced's scaffolders hold Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme cards, which they are awarded after taking health and safety training tests. This training provides Advanced with greater, more versatile capabilities, enabling it to respond to customer requirements. The company is able to take on work for the MoD, housing associations and local authorities, and recently worked on Bideford College. It also equips it to compete with larger competitors from outside the area because it can comply with more health and safety requirements when bidding.
Matt gave his reasons for employing apprentices as wanting to maintain as experienced workforce and taking on young people knowing that they are going to get something out of it. when asked what advice he had for others considering taking on apprentices, Matt said: "Don't rush into it thinking it's cheap labour. It's a big commitment but benefits will be long term. "I look after my staff and hope they return the favour.".