Apprenticeships improve engagement for Wrexham manufacturer.

A reuse and recycling company in Wrexham are finding apprenticeships the ideal solution for developing and upskilling its staff.

Mainetti is a designer, manufacturer and recycler of garment hanging products. The company has bases across the world with three in the UK. Its Wrexham branch employs 220 people, all of whom are eligible for Mainetti’s internal apprenticeship training programme.

Mikolaj Pietrzyk, site manager of Mainetti’s Wrexham branch, said: "We started our apprenticeship programme in 2012, as a way of offering our staff the option to undergo on-the-job training and upskilling. The programme is open to all our employees and enables them to gain NVQ qualifications, from level two to five in sustainable resources management – something which is vital to our business operations."

"Once they complete their level five NVQ, employees have the option to take further qualifications in an area of their choosing which is relevant to the needs of the business. The programme has been incredibly successful so far, currently we have 69 employees at various stages of their NVQ and one employee who has progressed to further training."

"50% of the employees at our Wrexham branch are from Europe and received their education outside the UK, undergoing additional NVQ training with us helps them gain recognised UK qualifications. We also employ a number of people who, for one reason or another, were unable to pursue further or higher education. For them, this is an opportunity to gain those qualifications. Our aim is to promote staff development within the business, in the hope these employees will have the chance to progress within the company to supervisory and management roles."

A 2016 Business Omnibus Survey by Beaufort Research found 97% of Welsh businesses surveyed thought training or development was important to business success. When asked about the outcomes of training, 76% said staff showed more interest and enthusiasm for their role and 70% reported increased staff loyalty. Despite this, only 61% offered job specific training and only 28% of the surveyed companies offered apprenticeships. (1)

Mikolaj said: "As well as improving skills within the business, we’ve found staff are happier and more engaged with their work. Our internal survey last year found 75% of our employees are actively engaged with the business and our staff turnover is very low. Productivity has also increased by 33%, and absenteeism has decreased from 4-6% to around 2%."

"Our internal programme has been so successful, we are looking to improve and expand on the training options we offer. We’re also looking externally to take on an engineering apprentice this year, which will give us the opportunity to train someone from scratch in the way we work to meet our business-specific needs."

Kelly Venables-Jones is a production operative at Mainetti, currently working towards her level 3 NVQ qualification. Kelly said: "I didn’t go to college or do A Levels, so I was really happy to get the chance to enrol in Mainetti’s apprenticeship programme and gain some qualifications. I find the course interesting and challenging, and I’m more knowledgeable now in my work. It’s helped me to understand the processes and why we do certain things, I definitely enjoy work more since I’ve been on the course and I’m becoming better at my job."

(1) Business Omnibus Survey, Beaufort Research, Welsh Government – Age of Investment, November 2016