School’s never out at Kimpton

Kimpton have been encouraging businesses in the Liverpool City Region to join them in offering work experience and apprenticeships to young people.

Matt Breakwell from Kimpton commented “Engineering hasn’t been a fashionable career choice for young people over the last decade or so, but this is changing fast with excellent opportunities for long-term, well-paid employment, delivering the green economy. As an example, according to NESTA, there are currently only 3,000 trained heat pump engineers in the UK. At least 27,000 will be needed in the next six years, requiring increases of 4,000-6,000 per year if we are to hit our decarbonisation targets as a country.

We are seeing great results in working to change perceptions of careers in construction. We recently did a talk at Leamington Primary School in Liverpool and asked a group of 9/10-year-old kids what they thought construction was about. They said it was dirty, scary and dangerous, so it shows how far we have to go to change perceptions. Construction just isn’t all hard hats, steel toe caps and clambering about on scaffolding.

Over the summer we are recruiting three more apprentices and delivering work experience placements to college students to give them valuable site experience in building services engineering. We’ve also hosted a work experience placement for a student from St John Plessington College.

In my role as a LCR Enterprise Advisor, I’ve seen how important it is for businesses to support schools to give students access to real-world experiences.”

One addition to the Kimpton team via the apprenticeship route is Grace Roberts.

Grace is completing a HNC to become a Mechanical Estimator. She also volunteers as Liverpool City Region’s youngest Enterprise Advisor supporting Prenton High School for Girls to deliver the Gatsby benchmarks.

Grace commented “These benchmarks may sound like another government-led initiative, but they are genuinely helping align education with employment. If we can offer enough opportunities for work experience, they will ensure the students finishing education have more relevant experience and are ready to work in industries like our own.

When I joined Kimpton, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but I was impressed with the open culture within the business. They really aim to encourage innovation and champion new ways of working. So, when I was offered the opportunity to study for the HNC and pursue a longer-term career in construction, I just knew it would be right for me. I’d encourage other women to consider a career in engineering, as the growth in renewable technologies means the long-term prospects are amazing.”

Central to the recruitment strategy at the family-owned business, is the mix of developing staff from the ground up, offering apprenticeships and work experience to grow and develop the future team. Kimpton encourages and supports employees to continually train and develop to allow them to progress within the business.

And the strategy works.

Of the 86 staff employed by Kimpton, 14 senior employees started as apprentices and have worked their way up to a combined 260 years at the company.

Richard Kimpton, Group Managing Director said “As a business, we have always believed education and learning is not only the right thing to do but provides opportunities to excel. Recruitment in construction has been tough and our long-term plan to develop staff internally and provide outside opportunities to people is working. We look at people regardless of their background and those who may not otherwise have considered a career in construction.

We urge other companies to look to work alongside the education system in every way possible, as it evokes a positive culture, and allows staff to develop by being innovative and curious. These are great qualities to have in engineering and construction”

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