Graham Plumbers’ Merchant is supporting the construction industry’s younger generation by offering an apprenticeship scheme that provides their first steps into the business. The 12-month scheme allows the apprentices to engage in various different tasks to gain valuable skills for the future.

Having started back in 2014, apprentices gain experience in customer service and stock management, and partake in useful training sessions on Graham’s wide range of products and the plumbing industry.

Joe Griffiths, an apprentice at the Plymouth branch, spoke about his favourite part of the role. “I really enjoy the practical element - I feel I am able to gain better experience of what it is like to work in a busy environment with a practical hands-on approach, rather than being taught in a classroom.”

The apprenticeship scheme has also had a positive effect on Graham’s already accomplished staff. Ian Cockerill, Branch Manager in Plymouth, spoke with enthusiasm and commented, “It invigorates youth and gets young people involved in plumbing, which is great. Our apprentice gets stuck in and does a bit of everything, from deliveries to working on the counter. He helps us out and he learns a lot.”

The scheme has seen some great success. For instance, Zach Taylor began his career as an Apprentice Estimator, and is now an Estimator based in Eastbourne. He also won the Graham Heroes Rising Star Award in 2015. Zach’s accomplishments convey the real impact of apprentices and the overall effect they have on Graham as a business.

Graham additionally sponsors HIP Magazine’s ‘UK Heating Apprentice of the Year’. This is a competition that runs ‘heats’ across several regions of the U.K., which allows students to gain recognition and excellent contacts for their future careers. Furthermore, it’s a great opportunity for employers to engage with the next group of young achievers within the construction industry.

Graham’s active involvement with this subject shows their dedication to the younger generation. Apprenticeships are the key to encouraging young people to take the first step into joining the industry, and the ultimate solution to the current skills gap.