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Spotlight on: Kitco

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Kitco are a family-run business, supplying workwear, sportswear and promotional products plus many more items onto which a business or club’s identity can be enhanced and branded upon. They supply bespoke products from sole traders to national companies. In a competitive industry they pride themselves on their business and reputation being built on a traditional personal service. The company are based in Keynsham which is located between Bristol & Bath.

The team were finding themselves consistently busy and felt it time to expand their team. Dave Hallett, company director of Kitco, discovered the WTPN website and got in touch with us at the West of England Apprenticeship Service, a part of the West of England Combined Authority’s Workforce for the Future Programme. Dave told us “due to one member of our small team planning retirement, we needed to start thinking towards the future and filling a gap in our print room. Also due to our ever-increasing business demand we wanted to expand our team and were interested in learning more about apprenticeships”.

The West of England Apprenticeship Service (WEAS) team got to work researching apprenticeship standards after listening to Kitco’s business needs and areas for growth. Once a standard had been chosen by the company, WEAS organised for Kitco to meet with training provider, BPIF, to discuss the provision and how it can be tailored to the needs of the business. Fast forward a few months and Toby is approaching his third month working as a print operative at Kitco, studying 1 day a week with BPIF to achieve his Level 2 Print Operative apprenticeship! Toby learnt about apprenticeships at school, with many of his friends also choosing to take the same path of learning combined with on-the-job training. Like Toby, many young people are choosing apprenticeships to gain skills and qualifications for long-term employment whilst still earning a wage. Toby has been a welcome addition to the team, Dave stating not only has it allowed them to have more ‘hands on deck’ with increasing sales but also bringing an enthusiastic young, school leaver into the team has allowed him to impart their company morals and shape the future workforce.

For most small businesses funding is always one of the first hurdles when thinking about recruiting an apprentice. However for Kitco, as well as accessing support to from WEAS, the team have also benefited from our Share to Support scheme by accessing a large employers unspent apprenticeship levy, kindly gifted to the scheme, which covers the full training costs of the Toby’s apprenticeship.

We asked Dave if he had any advice for other businesses considering hiring an apprentice and this was his response…

“From initial research the process seems lengthy, however it really isn’t as daunting as it sounds. The West of England Apprenticeship Service held our hands the whole way through, nothing was ever too much. As a busy enterprise, it took the pressure off us researching apprenticeship standards and organising meetings with training providers. Overall, a positive experience.”

Are you looking to take on an apprentice, or keen to understand your options for recruiting an apprentice or upskilling your team? Get in touch with our team: apprenticeships@wtpn.org.uk.

The service is led by the Western Training Provider Network, as part of the West of England Combined Authority's Workforce for the Future programme. The service is free to businesses, thanks to funding and support from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and the European Social Fund (ESF). Find out more information about Workforce for the Future here.

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