Forget Alan Sugar, for National Apprenticeship week 2013 (11-15 March), we would like to introduce you to our fantastic apprentice, Charlie Brogden (pictured right with Tom).
Charlie, 22, joined us last September from Truro & Penwith College and has now learnt to make over half the product range that is handcrafted at our studio in Trevarno, Cornwall.
Tom believes that for small businesses like his who need skilled workers, apprenticeships are the best way to help his business to grow. He said: “The process slower at first, of course, but very soon the workload is shared which makes it so worth it. I had to find the right apprentice but I have that in Charlie and soon I’ll be freed up to do more of the design work I haven’t had time for so that we can expand and refine our product range.”
Tom believes in running a sustainable business as well as producing sustainable products and he loves the enthusiasm and ideas Charlie brings to the table. He added: “The apprenticeship route works really well for me because often hiring a good freelancer carpenter is wasted as they need to learn the very specific process of steam-bending and making our products. Charlie is learning this process and already making a difference to our capacity.”
Charlie has all good things to say about his experiences too and is particularly given confidence because Tom
listens to his ideas. Originally, Charlie had wanted to work in boatbuilding but the unique steam bending method used at Tom Raffield, along with the company ethos of sustainability and commitment to staff development, was an attractive combination. He says: “I wasn’t really looking for an apprenticeship but now I wouldn’t want to do it any other way. I would definitely recommend it. I think apprenticeships should be advertised better in schools – it’s sad that everyone is driven down the path of university. Being an apprentice you have to be driven and quite practical but this way you have the safe environment of college, with support and advice on stuff like housing if you need it, as well as earning money and getting experience of real work. It’s the best of both worlds.”
We’re proud to support National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from 11-15 March to showcase the work of apprentices in businesses across the UK.