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The Top Family Business Apprentice Employers 2022

Family Business United has compiled a list of the top family businesses employing apprentices to demonstrate the contribution that businesses are making to employing apprentices and their investment in the next generation of employees.

Submissions were received from all corners of the UK and the final top 10 represent the best in terms of the number of apprentices, the creation of new apprenticeships and the number of apprentices completing and graduating from their apprenticeships. Entries were open to family businesses employing more than five apprentices and and they were analysed and rank on a number of different factors which were consolidated to determine the final listing.

As Paul Andrews, Founder and Managing Director of Family Business United adds, “Family businesses are innovative and entrepreneurial and it is great to see so many providing apprenticeships. This inaugural report has clearly demonstrated the commitment of family firms to invest in the next generation of their staff and that there are a significant number of apprenticeship opportunities within the family business sector.”

The Top 10 Family Business Apprentice Employers

  1. Hodgkinson Builders

  2. Novus Solutions

  3. JCT600

  4. Bagnalls

  5. Sound Leisure

  6. JCB

  7. The Malcolm Group

  8. The Clancy Group

  9. Portakabin Ltd

  10. Arco

As Chris Black, Managing Director of Sound Leisure explains, “Sound Leisure has benefited from welcoming apprentices into our business for decades and we now have various members of the team in management levels and throughout the business that started with us as apprentices.”

“There is nothing more rewarding in business than to see a young person enter the business with little knowledge and grow into an adult full of confidence and with a skill that they will be able to use for the rest of their working career.”

Ellie Jobes is the HR Director at Bagnalls, another Yorkshire based family businesses that recognises the value of apprentices. As she explains, “We have been employing apprentices continually since 1899. Each year we recruit more than 20 apprentice painters and decorators, as well as offering existing employees the opportunity to expand their skills through an apprenticeship.”

“Recruitment and development of apprenticeships is key to ensuring that we continue to provide skilled tradespeople to our customers. Many of our Branch Managers and Directors joined the business as apprentices, demonstrating that apprenticeships give a solid foundation on which to build a long-term career. We continue to promote the value of apprenticeships within our industry and more widely wherever we can,” concludes Ellie.

Rose Bamber is one of the apprentices at Bagnalls, the specialist painting and decorating contractor. As Rose explains, “Being an apprentice for Bagnalls is important to me as it has provided the opportunity to gain valuable real-world work experience, whilst also giving me the support and training to develop my skills and confidence as a painter and decorator.”

Dave Boot, is the Branch Manager of the Wolverhampton Branch of Bagnalls and himself a big fan of apprenticeships. “An apprenticeship is a great way of gaining experience whilst training and I decided that was the route for me.”

“When I left school I wanted to get a trade and stumbled across Bagnalls and I applied due to the fact it was a family company, the type of projects that the business is involved with and the length of time the business had operated were all a huge factors that influenced my decision to apply.”

“I really enjoyed the 3 year apprenticeship and at the end of it was approached to be a management trainee. I had wanted to progress into a management position from an early stage and jumped at the opportunity. Bagnalls promote from within and support good people and have helped me to progress to my position today,” concludes Dave.

Nicola Tordoff-Sohne is the Head of Colleague Experience and JCT600, another Yorkshire based family business that recognises the benefits that apprentices afford their business. “‘It means so much to us as a family business to help nurture the future generations of our business. Our apprentices bring so much at every stage of their journey. Starting with a fresh perspective and lots of enthusiastic energy. As they grow and develop their careers with us, they bring a level of skill and expertise that helps us deliver our mission of ‘just being the best at what we do’ here at JCT600,” she adds.

Ben Collinson is one of the JCT600 customer service team who recently qualified with a Level 3 in Customer Service. He really appreciates the apprenticeship programme and adds that “The apprenticeship has given me a sense of purpose, a good base and opportunity for a rewarding career. It’s improved my confidence massively. I have enjoyed such support from both the Academy and my colleagues on site. I have picked up a mix of skills from them and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Craig Wilson is a Workshop Trainer for The Malcolm Group. Historically, The Malcolm Group has always been an employer of apprentices across most aspects of the business, and he started as an apprentice HGV Technician with the company when leaving school in 1999.

Craig explains, “Whilst I served my time mostly in our logistics depot at Newhouse, I helped at other locations from time to time which gave me the opportunity to travel and meet new people, which is something I enjoy. As time progressed, I always took an interest in the new apprentices coming through and tried to help in any way I could by sharing my experiences, whilst they completed their apprenticeships.”

“Now in my current role as Workshop Trainer, part of my remit is to help recruit suitable new apprentices for our workshops and keep track of their progress both in the workshop and when they attend college, which is something I have enjoyed immensely. Watching them progress from sometimes shy sixteen/seventeen-year-olds to completing their course with help from myself and others along the way is very fulfilling and rewarding. We as a company see apprentices as our future and invest in them heavily to give them and us the best opportunities going forward.”

“In an industry where recruiting the right people is not always easy, having a steady flow of apprentices coming through reduces the need to look elsewhere too,” concludes Craig.

Nathan Black is another one of The Malcolm Group apprentices. He is an HGV Apprentice Technician having started as an HGV Apprentice Technician in the Logistics Division earlier this year, aged 17. “This was my first job since leaving school and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn new skills through ongoing training, such as gaining my HGV licence. The role has helped me to become a more independent and confident individual, with financial stability. I have been given a great opportunity to develop a secure progressive career within a forward-thinking company,” adds Nathan.

“Due to the variety and volume of work, I genuinely enjoy all aspects of my job. It has been great meeting new people and I like the balance of working within a team and on my own. Every day is different, with the opportunity to learn different skills. I particularly enjoyed my shunter training within the yard. The Malcolm Group has depots throughout the UK, and this gives me the opportunity to visit other locations. As part of the workshop team, I enjoy socialising with my colleagues as well as working alongside them, which gives me a good work life balance,” Nathan concludes.

“Family business continue to offer excellent career opportunities for those in the next generation looking for the chance to learn skills and apply them directly in the workplace. It is refreshing, but not unsurprising, that a significant number of family firms across the UK are providing apprenticeships and reaping the benefits too. Family firms are renowned for being good places to work and retaining staff for many years so the increasing role that apprenticeships have to play is yet more testament to the long term view taken by family firms with a desire to invest in their people too. This inaugural report shines a positive light on family firms continuing to make a difference and we look forward to seeing how the trend continues in years to come,” concludes Paul.

The full findings are summarised in the report below:

24247-PA-Top-FB-Apprentice-Employers-2022-FINAL-REPORT (1)
Download PDF • 93KB


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