A company renowned for growing its own talent has been praised for recruiting a new intake of apprentices for the sixth year in succession.
NES (North Electrical Services), which has bases in Inverness and Elgin, has recently started three apprentice electricians, taking the total number of trainees currently employed to 14.
This means apprentices make up more than 23% of the 60-strong workforce, a fact welcomed by Lady Cobham CBE, director general of The 5% Club, an employer-members group working to create skills training opportunities across the UK.
Members of The Club, which includes PwC, Heathrow, the Ministry of Defence, Rolls-Royce and Network Rail, aspire to achieve five percent of their workforce in ‘earn and learn’ positions (including apprentices, sponsored students and graduates on formalised training schemes) within five years of joining.
Since being set up in 2012, NES has recruited 18 apprentices and each year has seen young workers complete the four-year course and pass FICA (Final Integrated Competence Assessment) qualifications.
The latest intake includes Jack Gall, 18, from Inverness; Lewis Urquhart, 16, from Dingwall; and Aiden Stewart, 16, from Elgin.
Lady Cobham said: “NES’s record of recruiting apprentices in each of its six years of business is extremely impressive, as is the proportion of apprentices which now makes up the company’s workforce.
“Providing training opportunities is vital to ensure our future generation has access to practical skills to equip them for the modern workplace, improve their confidence and help the wider economy.”
NES Managing Director, Kenny Duncan said: “Since our inception we have focused heavily on apprentices and staff development which has proven to be very successful.
“It is important for us to not only develop the company in the right way, but also to provide opportunities for young people to allow us to grow our own workforce for the future.”
NES’s services include industrial and commercial electrical installation and maintenance works, control and instrumentation, electric motor repair, overhaul and rewinding for clients including schools, offices, commercial premises, distilleries and fish processing plants.
Its experienced workforce includes electricians, project engineers, estimators and a full-time health and safety manager, a post normally found in much larger businesses.
It has set out ambitious plans for another four-fold increase in staff, increasing the number of employees to 250 within the next five years, while also proposing an expansion into the central belt.
Earlier this year, the company scored a double success at a national business awards ceremony. It won the north section of the Business of the Year category for firms with under 100 staff in the Scottish SME Business Awards and went on to take the national title, beating four other regional winners.