Real stories...

Names: James Lawson & Thomas Justice
Job title: Apprentice Engineer
Employer: Rheams Plumbing and Heating Ltd
Qualification: Level 3 Diploma in Gas Engineering

Why passing it on to the next generation of apprentices is key to business growth for family firm

Passing on skills to the next generation is a key way to drive business growth, according to a Leamington Spa-based heating and plumbing specialist. 

Rheams (Plumbing and Heating) Ltd is a second-generation family-run business which has just taken on two young apprentices to extend the excellent work it does in its growing Warwickshire and West Midlands patch. 

Learning from experience

James Lawson, 26 and Thomas Justice, 21, are both studying for a level three diploma in gas engineering over the next 18 months with the Nottingham-based HomeServe Academy and will also spend time learning on the job with the team of gas engineers and the directors Martin Burns and his son Dan, both former apprentices. 

The nine-strong engineering team has seen a marked increase in demand since March, and needed to bring in sustainable extra capacity to help them cope over the longer term – and the company feels apprenticeships are a great way to gain fresh skills and retain staff and hope to have a new apprentice every year.

Bridging the gap

Ginny Burns, company director and daughter of the firm’s founder Ted Rheams, worked with team at the HomeServe Academy to introduce James and have Thomas as a new apprentice and arrange their training.  Ginny said: “James and Thomas are a really great fit. This is a small family-run business and we were looking for a way to expand our team and the work we can carry out now over the longer term. 

Strength to strength

“We launched a new website in March and it’s had a big impact on demand.  We’ve already got a really good team and they’re doing a tremendous job bringing in new business and building on our reputation, so we felt we wanted to capitalise on our talent and bring in trainees to learn how we do things. “In the past, this has been quite a complicated process, but the HomeServe Academy basically did all the legwork, provided us with a shortlist of possible recruits via the Government’s, arranged for us to meet and assess them, and then arranged all their training.  We could not be happier.”

James has already started his course on the Academy’s September intake and Thomas will join him later this month. Rheams will receive regular 12-week updates on their progression and the pair will be supported along the journey by the Academy team, including Training Manager Phil Heritage, pictured. 

We're here to help

Helen Booth, director of the HomeServe Academy, said: “Rheams is a great example of a small company thinking big and addressing the future skills needs they have now by taking advantage of the high-quality training we provide.  “Taking on an apprentice is a big step for any business, but it can really pay off, especially as the trades sector has seen such a dramatic boom in demand recently, with expectations that this trend will only increase over the coming years.  “We can work with firms to find talent, manage the application process and arrange all the training and assessments so companies like Rheams can get on with doing great business.” 

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If you’re an apprentice looking for your next opportunity, or an employer who’s looking to grow their business through the apprenticeship scheme, then get in touch today to find out how the Apprenticeship Academy can support you.