As an employer, we have long been a champion of continued learning and training and providing opportunities through apprenticeships.


To celebrate this years’ National Apprenticeship Week, we reflect on some of those opportunities as we put some questions to employees, Kalem Ainsley and Holly Appleby both former apprentices and current apprentice Tiegan Cranney.


Get to know our team

Holly Appleby

Security Product Planner and Purchasing (fencing department), completed a Level 2 apprenticeship in Customer Service last summer, with distinctions across the board.

Kalem Ainsley

Technical Manager, began as an Apprentice Machine Setter in 2017 and has held positions such as Technical Engineer and Mechanical CAD Engineer.

Tiegan Cranney

Customer Service Apprentice, started with the company February 2022.


This years’ theme for National Apprenticeship Week is Skills for Life, what skills from your apprenticeship will you hold on to?


Kalem Ainsley: “For me, I’d say a lot of the skills that I will hold on to are around personal development and are things I can use outside of work such as self-confidence, adaptability and being able to communicate and socialise well. I’ve also developed the ability to problem solve and use critical thinking in my decision making.”


Holly Appleby: “I’d agree with Kalem around communication and decision making. These are core skills to have both professionally and personally. And I’d also add that I’ve learnt to be adaptable to work on short-time scales which you can really only do if you have good knowledge and can make informed decisions quickly. In addition, I’d also say I’ve learnt to balance my workload which helps with a good work/life balance.”


Tiegan Cranney: “Whereas Holly and Kalem have been working with the company for a number of years I still believe there is a lot for me to learn. Though I have already learnt how to fit in as part of a team and harmonise with colleagues, at all levels, to achieve desired outcomes.


“One thing I’m developing, which I know will be a skill for life, is my ability to connect with customers which will only improve as I spend more time understanding costs, materials and how to problem solve to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome for the customer and business.”


What other skills have you learnt through your apprenticeship?


Tiegan Cranney: “I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’ve learnt a range of skills so far, and I’m still learning. But the skill I feel I have developed the most would be communication. Not only to external customers, but also internally when presenting information. I recently conducted a couple of presentations to evidence where I have shared my knowledge with colleagues and external contacts. Doing this presentation allowed me to progress my knowledge of the products and system, as well as develop my confidence to speak with colleagues I don’t speak to regularly.”


Kalem Ainsley: “Within my role, a lot of what I have taken away from my apprenticeship are technical based skills that are critical to my role, such as: Computer Aided-Design (CAD), 3D Rendering, Lean Manufacturing, Product/ Process Development, Estimating, Planning and scheduling, Operations Management and Finite Element Analysis (FEA/FMEA).”


Holly Appleby: “Similar to Kalem, other skills I have learnt support my role on a day-to-day basis such as understanding legislation, health and safety, operations knowledge, account management, material requirement planning and estimating. I’ve also undertaken training in first aid and as a fire warden – not your average experience, but certainly very valuable.”


For anyone considering an apprenticeship Kalem, Holly and Tiegan have the following advice:


  • It provides a foundation for you to earn whilst you learn, and you don’t often need any prior experience
  • For future employment, you already have on the job experience – not just the theory and it can develop into a career
  • If you’re enthusiastic and show a willingness to learn it will benefit you in the future
  • Apprenticeships offer a diverse and broad learning experience


Tiegan also offers from her experience: “If you’re thinking about an apprenticeship, go for it! When I first started my apprenticeship, I was a little intimidated by it as it was something I had never considered. However, when I left my interview, I was really surprised and intrigued. Looking back, I think going for an apprenticeship was the best decision I’ve made, as it has allowed me to build my knowledge and skills while working towards a level 3 qualification as a customer service specialist.”


There are more details about apprenticeships on the government website here:


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