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JOHNSON TILES SEEKS APPRENTICES TO ENSURE INDUSTRY’S FUTURE

Left to Right - Neil Thomas (Toolroom Trainer) Paul Lawton (Toolroom Team Leader) Anthony Wright (Toolroom Manager) and George Jones (Toolroom Apprentice)

Tile manufacturer Johnson Tiles has marked National Apprenticeship Week (4th-8th March) by calling for the next generation of manufacturing and engineering apprentices, to support the longevity of its industry.

Having been at the forefront of tile manufacturing for over 100 years, Stoke-on-Trent-based Johnson Tiles requires highly-skilled employees to ensure the smooth, day-to-day running of its operations.

Over the last 30 years, the company’s apprenticeship scheme has offered training and development to staff of all ages.

Melanie Jones, Head of HR at Johnson Tiles, explained: “When we set up the apprenticeship scheme 30 years ago, it was in response to an impending skills shortage. This, paired with an ageing workforce, meant that there needed to be an overlap in knowledge sharing with the next generation of employees – and this is still very much the case today.#

“The main challenge is finding candidates that want a hands-on role rather than going down a traditional education route. In our experience, once apprentices have been recruited, they tend to stay for a very long time.”

Nowhere is this more evident than Johnson Tiles’ Toolroom, which is entirely run by apprentices, past and present.

Its manager, Anthony Wright, 46, has been at the company for 30 years, after undertaking an apprenticeship straight from school.

Commenting on the apprenticeship scheme, Anthony said: “The good thing about the Toolroom is that no two days are the same. It’s a skilled job, and there’s no better way to develop those skills than by actually doing them.

“We’re currently experiencing a skills shortage in the manufacturing industry, and I believe the government needs to put more funding into encouraging apprenticeships. We’ve seen some fantastic candidates recently, but could certainly do with more.”

As well as taking on new apprentices, Johnson Tiles provides ongoing training to its entire workforce. Starting from level 2, employees can work towards achieving a level 6 or 7 – equivalent to a degree qualification.

Stephen Dixon, Managing Director at Johnson Tiles, said: “Our aim is to train people to the skill level required for their job, before branching out to cross-train beyond their department to provide a rounded understanding of the business as a whole. Apprenticeships and upskilling existing employees is an excellent way of achieving this.

“Recruiting young people to work in the industrial ceramics sector is a challenge, but we’ve got some excellent candidates at the moment and initiatives such as National Apprenticeship Week are a fantastic support in fuelling applications.”

www.johnson-tiles.com

 

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