Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Country Estate Apprenticeships in Cornwall

Tregothnan is a rural family Estate.   The Estate is run by a large team of employees who work across the Garden, Maintenance, Farming, Game, Joinery, and Forestry. 
As well as the traditional Estate operations Tregothnan has diversified with a commercial business in Tea, Charcoal, Floristry and Holiday Accommodation.   Their Tea is grown, processed, packed and sold on the Estate in Cornwall. Their Charcoal is made at their Kent Estate and their Floristry uses home grown foliage and British grown flowers.  Tregothnan’s commercial branding promotes their British product, heritage and the luxuriousness of the products.

What were the businesses issues/challenges to take on apprentices?
The main challenges for the Estate are succession planning and brand alignment. The knowledge across the Estate among employees is important and going forward they need to ensure core knowledge is passed to trained employees.   This could be anything from understanding the Estate’s water network to ensuring they have the skills within the joinery teams to undertake the specialist and diverse tasks that are relevant to the Estate.  Tregothnan offers a different work environment, a very enjoyable one, which requires a unique employee.   This is usually someone who understands and is passionate about their brand and ethics.   It is important for Tregothnan to harness this passion within potential employees.

Recruiting their apprentices:
Tregothnan created their own Apprenticeship Scheme and took on their very first apprentices in Forestry and Horticulture with Duchy College and CCB, and Joinery with another provider.
CCB’s Apprenticeship Recruitment Team supported Tregothnan at each step of the process. CCB’s Recruitment Advisor, Claire, worked with them to gain a clear understanding of their needs and concerns from the outset. Candidates were only presented once Claire knew they were committed, which meant Tregothnan got to interview some really interested, passionate young people.

Tregothnan’s Apprenticeship Scheme has provided them with a focus on how they can knowledge share and provides support amongst their team mentors and their employees in general.  It has opened up a culture of learning and engagement.

What impacts and benefits have apprentices had on the company?
It has opened their eyes up to the skills that team members need to take on an apprentice and ensure that they are motivated and trained.   They did not expect the apprentices to produce any kind of increase in output as they wanted to focus on their learning and other training outside of their apprenticeship for example; chainsaw, manual handling, and spraying.  
However, the apprentices have allowed Tregothnan to expand their outlook on how they can develop employees and future apprentices. As their apprentices have developed they have seen an increase in output within each team month on month.
“Our apprenticeship scheme is providing us with future skills in technical and rural roles that are hard to find in young people.   We have found some passionate and committed young people to work in our demanding environment and take on the challenge of gaining a qualification. Our apprehension in starting an apprenticeship scheme was met by the brilliant service we had with Claire at CCB.” Claire Scholes - Training Manager - Tregothnan Estates


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