Norland Managed Services

17 August 2014

Most employers would agree that one of the key challenges in today's electrical industry is a serious disparity in the sector's skills base. For many businesses, the need to offset an ageing workforce by bringing in and training a new generation is a critical concern.


Norland Managed Services is an engineering-based facilities management service provider. This SME’s client list covers both older buildings such as the Tower of London and newer ones such as Wembley Stadium, 30 St Mary Axe (better known as ‘The Gherkin’) and many of the Canary Wharf towers. Norland currently has 44 apprentices at all stages of their apprenticeships, most of them in training as electrical maintenance and service engineers.


“The whole industry has been fairly inconsistent about bringing new people into it,” says Terry Foster, Norland's training development manager. “As a result, the sector is now looking at a demographic profile that is bad news for the long-term health of the industry. Bringing in apprentices helps both businesses and the industry to ensure its long-term viability. Customers are also showing far greater interest in social responsibility issues, one of which is for companies to be seen to be pulling their weight in improving employment opportunities for those at the start of their careers, helping them to develop valuable job skills and adding to the skills profile of the UK workforce.


“It also makes good business sense,” he continues. “Increasingly, potential customers are asking about our apprenticeship scheme. I doubt we've ever won a contract because we employ apprentices, but I'm pretty sure that having apprentices has contributed to our being seriously considered as viable working partner in the first place. Even during the recent recession, Norland has experienced significant growth [around 23% per year] and has recently become part of CBRE. I believe and hope the opportunities for apprentices within Norland will grow accordingly."


Norland, like many SMEs, has severe limitations on time in comparison to much larger enterprises. This is where a partnership with JTL pays great dividends. JTL helps Norland to source apprentices, vetting all candidates before putting them forward, arranges their college courses, draws down government funding and carries out regular assessments throughout the apprenticeship period. Apprenticeships have changed dramatically in the last two decades and a local JTL training officer is always on hand to help explain the complexities of the apprenticeship framework.


“As an SME, we would simply not be able to employ apprentices like this without JTL,” says Terry Foster. “We are able to call on their expertise throughout most of the UK. They help us to find apprentices in the first place, organise the training and assessments and give valuable advice and support to ensure we give our apprentices the best start to their careers." 

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