Norfolk firm that backs apprenticeships awarded gold status

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A Norfolk business which has always led by example through its recruitment of apprentices has been awarded gold status by the national 5% Club.

Warren Services, founded by Richard Bridgman more than 30 years ago in Thetford, has trained scores of young people through its scheme and the firm’s commitment to providing apprenticeships was recognised at an awards ceremony held at the House of Lords in November 2021.

The company currently has nine apprentices in training at all levels up to degree level and a third of its workforce are either former or current Warren apprentices, including some now managers.

Mr Bridgman, a member of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Skills Advisory Panel, collected the gold award at the event where he was accompanied by apprentices [pictured above left to right] Robert Jones, Jed McConochie and Cailum Wilson.

The 5% Club was started in 2013 by Balfour Beatty CEO Leo Quinn and is a movement of employers committed to increasing the number, quality and range of ‘Earn & Learn’ opportunities across the UK. Companies who join pledge to raising the number of apprentices, sponsored students and graduates on formal programmes to 5% of their total workforce within five years.

Commenting on his company’s approach to employment: “Warren Services has always had a very open recruitment policy and always picks the best candidate whatever their qualifications. We have worked very closely with the DWP for many years to help those struggling to find employment, especially those aged 16 to 24.

“Apprenticeships are more important than ever now and along with KickStart and other schemes represent a really golden opportunity to young people on their route to employment and a career.”

Project engineer Cailum Wilson said of the Westminster reception where the award was presented: “I really enjoyed it as a large variety of companies attended, and the speeches that were made during the event were pushing for more apprenticeship schemes and opportunities in the UK.”

Mr Bridgman’s commitment to apprentices was further recognised in the Government’s Levelling Up Awards 2021, Foreign Secretary and South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss presenting him with the honour at an event in November. His award was for the company’s open, transparent and accessible recruitment practices.

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