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F Ball and Co paves way for STEM apprentices

AS National Apprenticeship Week 2023 (6-12 February 2023) got underway, it shone a light on the opportunities offered by vocational qualifications, and F Ball and Co is providing strong career foundations for young people making inroads into manufacturing, and in turn, helping address the skills gap in the flooring industry.

A cohort of six apprentices are taking their first career steps at the UK floor preparation products and flooring adhesives company, working across its engineering, technical services, marketing, operations, business administration and safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) departments.

Reflecting on her experience, Phoebe Cawley, 19, from Leek, SHEQ assistant apprentice, said: ‘The opportunity to gain valuable work experience, knowledge and develop skills are the most enjoyable aspects, F Ball’s support has helped me gain confidence, self-motivation and has given me an understanding of my potential.’

Harry Beasley, 19, from Staffordshire, marketing assistant apprentice, added: ‘My apprenticeship has been everything I wanted; I’ve been trained and trusted with valuable projects and I’m looking forward to what the next few years at F Ball bring.’

The additions to the F Ball team are a step toward addressing the flooring trade’s skills shortfall in required skills to meet high demand. Also part of a wider industry strategy are the company’s free training courses, which are available to all flooring professionals at F Ball’s Centre of Excellence, located at its Cheddleton headquarters, near Leek in Staffordshire.

The apprentice course, for example, is designed especially for those new to the trade and covers all aspects of flooring installation, including subfloor preparation, managing moisture, and adhesive selection, and reportedly provides budding flooring installers with the best possible start as they begin their careers.

F Ball’s apprentice uptake also extends its assistance to the UK’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) job market – also experiencing a skills gap. In December last year, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee recommended ‘urgent action’ from the government to achieve its goals of becoming a ‘science and technology superpower’ by 2030.
An inquiry into the shortage of the country’s STEM skills described the implications of the issue as ‘impeding improvements to productivity and economic growth’.

Mark Hughes, managing director at F Ball said: ‘It’s imperative we do our bit to support the future of our industry and that’s why we’re committed to helping young people get their foot in the door by offering a wide range of apprenticeship options throughout the business.

‘We’re pleased their time with us has been fruitful and we are confident they’ll go on to realise their aspirations and achieve success.’
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