Cornwall Glass Manufacturing will create six new apprenticeships before the end of this year as part of its continuing commitment to support the up skilling of workers in the glass industry.
The IGU manufacturer and glass processing specialist, which operates three sites across the South West and Southern England, already employs 12 apprentices within its team, in addition to those who have already graduated from its apprenticeship programme.
Mark Knight, joint managing director, Cornwall Glass Manufacturing, said the benefits that the development of ‘home grown talent’ delivered within its own business, but also to its customers in the form of improved service and quality, made apprenticeships a key element of its strategy.
“We want people to share in our culture and values,” he said. “While we operate across three fairly substantial sites, we remain at heart, a family business and with that we’re absolutely committed to quality and service.
“If we can recruit colleagues, right at the start of their careers, we make sure that they share those values and strengthen them within our organisation – that means a better level of service to our customers.”
With nine of its current apprentices working through glass operative training, the emphasis of its programme has also been on core manufacturing skills sets.
“There is a challenge in recruitment of young people into the industry and that makes it very important that we as businesses go out and engage with them to show them the opportunities that a career in the glass industry can offer them,” Mark says.
Despite campaigns such as Building Our Skills that are designed to promote apprenticeships within the glass and glazing industry, recruitment remains a challenge for businesses at large, with 72,400 fewer young people starting apprenticeships nationally last year compared to 2017/18.
Cornwall Glass Manufacturing has also reaffirmed its commitment made by the Cornwall Group that 20% of all of its colleagues should be drawn from among current or former apprentices.
Cornwall Group and Cornwall Glass Manufacturing was formed in summer last year as Cornwall Glass segmented its offer across glass merchanting, retail and manufacturing divisions, operating under a parent group.
“We have increased focus as a dedicated manufacturing business but the cultural values which underpin it remain the same,” Mark continued. “It’s about development and investment in our people because we know and understand that if colleagues are skilled and share in our values, we’ll deliver a better service to our customers.”