Inspiring great people to do great things
To mark Apprenticeship Week (8th-14th February), Jim McSharry, our Early Careers Manager, shares his thoughts on Chubb's Apprenticeship Scheme and how we continue to invest in helping develop skills relevant to our business' needs.
Chubb's Apprenticeship Scheme dates back to the '90s, where we enrolled our first apprentices at Bolton College. Since then, we have taken over 500 field apprentices who have completed a Level 3 apprenticeship in either Fire or Security Engineering. Our ability to mentor this number of apprentices through the business is an achievement we're immensely proud of – and the fact our scheme keeps evolving. We have recently widened our scheme to include a greater variety of roles, such as IT, Finance, Business Administration, and degree apprentices.
There are several reasons why we chose to run an apprenticeship scheme at Chubb. One of those is quite simply a business need. Over two-thirds of our workforce are technical engineers out in the field working with our customers. At Chubb, we don't sell a product, we sell a service, a solution that helps address the many challenges our customers face, and our apprentices are critical to this. With almost 1000 engineers deployed nationally, we continuously need to feed this talent pipeline with well trained and highly skilled engineers; apprenticeships are one way we can meet this need.
Our scheme also allows us to showcase Chubb as an attractive employer to younger people. With clear progression pathways, we keep our apprentices excited and inspired, knowing that they can explore a career with Chubb long-term - this is an excellent thing for everyone.
Our growth, their growth
There are also many benefits to growing our own workforce. Right from the start, it gives us the opportunity to pick the right candidates. It's not just about the technical skills; the apprentice's customer service skills and behaviours are just as important to us.
Of course, the technical part of the job needs delivering to the highest capability, but we also teach our apprentices that it isn't just about screwing a box to a wall and powering it up - there's much more to it. They learn how to engage with the customer to deliver excellent customer experiences and the importance of the first fix when visiting a customer's site, so no return visits are needed. Ultimately, it's not just about finishing the job; it's about finishing the job correctly.
The first and second year of the apprenticeship are foundational years where apprentices are closely monitored and supervised by an allocated mentor. We teach basics such as how to safely drill a hole or how to hold a hammer correctly. By the end of the second year, we anticipate apprentices to be 50[JB1] % more productive. By their third year, they start to spread their wings and become more of an engineer. We describe the learning curve in the third year as hockey stick-like and much faster. They are often given a vehicle and go out doing smaller jobs independently and managing themselves on site. They learn how to present themselves as a competent young engineer capable of doing their job.
Young adults often start with us as shy and timid individuals, but by the end of our 3-and-a-half-year programme, with well-planned and measurable targets and not rushed in any way, they really come out of their shell. I've seen apprentices stand in front of business leaders confidently handing over fairly complex systems towards the end of their apprenticeship. It's an incredible journey for a young person to go through, and I’m privileged to witness how they mature along the way.
We often nominate our apprentices for national trade awards and competitions such as IFSEC, FIREX, and BSIA. This external exposure is a great way to celebrate success for our deserving apprentices.
Over the years, we have seen apprentices go from engineers to operations managers, branch managers, supervisors, and sales managers. We are proud to provide opportunities for their continued development and career growth within the business.
By providing an apprenticeship programme we directly address any skill gaps affecting the business, therefore investing in the future of our people and our business as a whole.