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Thursday, 28 August 2014

400 candidates chase four apprentice posts

AN OFFER of four apprenticeships with social landlord Isos attracted almost 400 applicants.

And the four lucky applicants will be the first of a new generation of multi-skilled tradesmen operating throughout the Isos empire.

The four lads, aged 18-24, will be stepping out on a four year apprenticeship programme, aimed at gaining NVQ levels 1, 2 and 3 at Newcastle College.

Each of the four apprentices has a specialism – two joiners, an electrician and a plasterer – but they will all get a grounding in each of the other trades too.

Property services manager Michael McGrath said Isos wanted its tradespeople to be multiskilled and able to carry out a ‘whole job repair.’

He explained: “A plumber might do the principal pipework on a bathroom repair, then reconnect the plumbing, and finally replace a couple of glazed tiles too – so we don’t need to send two or three members of our team to carry out different aspects of one small job.”

But Michael said the aim of the apprenticeship was not just about practical skills.

“We are not just training these lads to be a joiner, plumber or electrician – it’s about developing good people skills and delivering excellent customer service.

“We want these lads to be ambassadors for Isos – to set an example.

“Apprenticeships can be between two and four years – the norm is three. We have gone for four, with the last year working as a real tradesman, but with support, to make sure they are confident and capable.”

He said Isos had tradesmen nearing retirement and was committed to training the next generation.

He added: “Although we can never guarantee their future, this is a fantastic opportunity to help them gain full time employment with Isos or possibly another employer.”

To help the apprentices with their studies, Isos has arranged with its materials supplier Jewson to provide all four trainees with a basic tool kit, to get them started in their careers.

Apprentice joiner Andrew Mastaglio, 22, said: “It’s a great opportunity – there are real long term employment possibilities here.

“This apprenticeship stood out, compared to other ones I saw advertised.

“When you’re looking for a trade, you see who the apprenticeship is with.

“Isos appealed more than the others. I felt comfortable applying as it’s a big company, and everyone has been great since we’ve been here.”

James Costello, consultant at Intraining North East, said: “It’s great to see these four young lads starting out on their apprenticeships in trades that will set them up for life in excellent careers.

“Apprenticeships are always very sought after, but getting 300 applications for these positions shows how prestigious apprenticeships in the trades really are.

“These lads did extremely well to get through the tough application criteria, so they should feel very proud of their efforts. We wish them well and look forward to working with Isos in the future.”

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