TGW is a leading international system integrator, planning and implementing highly automated, efficient and future-proof fulfilment centres around the world.
TGW is owned by the TGW Future Private Foundation, a legacy of the company’s founder whose vision was to build an organisation focused on success through the growth and development of its people rather than its profits. TGW is driven by the Foundation philosophy, “Focusing on People – Learning and Growing”, aiming to create an open, friendly and fun business environment where working hard to achieve business results and personal growth are equally encouraged.
The UK business was established in 2007 with four employees, and has since undergone explosive growth, now employing over 500 people and with further expansion planned over the coming years. TGW is one of MTC Apprenticeships’ newest employer partners, recruiting their first cohort of five apprentices in September 2020 and with plans to take on further learners in 2021.
We talked to Brian Hendry, Head of Controls Services at TGW, about why apprentices are an essential part of the company’s future strategy.
Why are apprenticeships so important to TGW?
19 August 1996 was the date that I started my own apprenticeship. Since then, I have had 10 different jobs, working in three great companies, travelling to 14 different countries – I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone. Apprentices are quite literally the future of engineering. For a business with such a strong learning and development focus, apprenticeships fit perfectly with TGW’s culture and values.
I’m passionate about apprenticeships because there really is no limit to the fantastic opportunities they bring both to the learner and to their employer. They increase the longevity and loyalty of your staff, and in my experience, they also bring out the best in people, especially those more experienced employees who are moving towards the end of their careers. I’ve watched how an opportunity to pass on their skills and expertise can really inspire and reinvigorate people.
Because we want both our apprentices and our experts to get the most out of apprenticeships, TGW provides dedicated mentor training. We give our staff the tools to provide holistic support to our apprentices, including mental health and well-being, and so that apprenticeships give our existing staff opportunities to learn and grow too.
It’s also important to say that apprenticeships are championed at every level of our business. One of our latest apprentices, Liam, came to us to do a week’s work experience in February 2020 when he was still at school, and met our CEO. Having been impressed with the first encounter, our CEO invited him for a 1:1 meeting at the end of his work experience to hear how it went and since Liam joined us he continues to follow his progress.
What has your experience been like working with MTC Apprenticeships?
Very good so far! The facilities have real wow factor, and that’s what drew me to the centre initially. I met Colin Bancroft, who’s now our Account Manager, at an AMTC Open Event. Colin gave me a tour of the training centre as well as the MTC, which heightened my interest in what MTC Apprenticeships were doing and how they were going about it.
Now that our apprentices are on programme, the team and the training are exceeding my expectations. Everyone is very knowledgeable and accommodating, and the programme is well-organised with great communication. We get weekly progress reports (way above and beyond the baseline service that’s required by the government), which helps us to provide any extra support that our apprentices need and keeps us up to date with how they’re getting on whilst they’re away from us in the training centre. The fact that the MTC has kept all of our apprentices on track to complete their first year on time despite all the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic is testament to how well everything is done.
How do your apprentices find the programme / what is the feedback you get from your apprentices?
I’m pleased to say that all our apprentices are really enjoying their journey so far. They tell us that they feel welcome and supported by both TGW and the training team and are excited about their futures, and especially about starting their on-the-job training in the summer. They’re also all very confident that an apprenticeship is the best path for them to get the skills and experience they need to be successful at what they do.
What is the feedback from their managers and those who work closely with them?
I’m actually the Line Manager for four of them! We’re very happy with our apprentices and their progress. At the beginning of their programme back in September, we asked them to set some goals. One said that he was aiming to win the Apprentice of the Month Award twice, and by January he’d already achieved it! Another of our apprentices won the Extra Mile Award this month in recognition of his help with some online training. It’s great to know that MTC is recognising and celebrating success through awards like these because it incentivises the learners to strive and stretch themselves. We’re really proud of them.
What do they add to your business when they start with you after being trained at MTC?
Our apprentices aren’t due back into the business until this summer, but we’re already confident that the additional modules the MTC delivers and their different ways of doing things will mean the apprentices add value from the outset. Additionally, some of our customers are MTC employer partners as well, so it makes sense to share the same training approach.
What do you like most about the MTC programme?
The structure. At the MTC, apprentices spend their first year full-time off-the-job. For us, this has two main benefits. Firstly, they’re getting a really great foundation on which to build all of their future training. Secondly, it’s a good opportunity to transition from a school environment into the workplace, learning the correct behaviours and professionalism in a positive environment where you’re surrounded by other people doing exactly the same thing. Some of our apprentices are just 16 years old and straight out of school and it’s a particularly big transition for these guys, so it’s really important that they have some space to make mistakes safely and to grow up a bit before they enter the workplace.