More than 30 young people are beginning careers with holiday homes market leader Willerby following the biggest recruitment of apprentices in the company’s 75-year history.
More than 350 applications were received for a broad range of roles and 34 young people aged between 16 and 21 are beginning their new training and career opportunities in two waves just a few weeks apart.
Willerby’s move to employ this new pipeline of talent comes as the business continues to grow and respond to the huge demand for high-quality holiday homes and the increasing popularity of staycations.
A wide range of Level 2, 3 and 4 apprenticeships have been made available across various departments at the company’s headquarters in Hull, with training courses ranging in duration from 18 months to four years.
The variety of roles include business administration, digital marketing, carpentry and joinery, electrical, design and engineering. This reflects the breadth of career opportunities being created within the business as Willerby continues to reinforce its status as the industry’s leading and most innovative designer and manufacturer of holiday homes, lodges and residential park homes.
Almost a third of the new recruits are female, showing the success of Willerby’s drive for greater workforce gender balance within a traditionally male-dominated industry.
The apprenticeships will combine on-the-job experience and formal training to equip the young people with the knowledge and technical and practical skills to pave the way to successful long-term careers.
The new recruits will also have the backing of 15 mentors at Willerby who will provide dedicated support for their development and ensure they have the best experience as they settle into their new roles.
Rosie Staniforth, 21, from Hedon, East Yorkshire, has taken up a Level 3 business administrator apprenticeship, to be completed over 18 months.
Rosie, who has a three-year-old son, said: “I’d love to build my career at Willerby. Here it’s like one big family and I felt at home straight away. This is such a great opportunity for me and it’s brilliant to start something new.”
Former Hull Trinity House Academy student Bradley Moyo, 16, from east Hull, has begun a three-year Level 3 Installation and Maintenance Electrician Apprenticeship.
He said: “I’ve always wanted an apprenticeship because I want to earn while I learn. My role will include everything from installing lights and electric fires to fitting plug sockets in the holiday homes.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone and it’s very special to be part of the biggest single intake of apprentices in Willerby’s history. It’s a great place and time to start my career.”
Former Winifred Holtby School student Brooklyn Shephard, 18, from east Hull, is undertaking a carpentry and joinery apprenticeship over two years.
He said: “This is a great opportunity for me and I’d like to think it will lead to a job for life. Willerby’s reputation speaks for itself. It’s a leading company that really looks after you.
“I’d love to progress at Willerby and I’m looking forward to learning everything from erecting walls in the holiday homes to fitting roofs and kitchens. It’s important to have a trade under your belt because you’re set for life and I’m excited to get started.”
The apprenticeships recruitment is just the latest evidence of Willerby’s investment in its workforce, which has grown to around 1,100. This summer Willerby opened a fifth production line at its Hull site and has taken on well over 200 additional staff within the past year, in response to its bulging order book, which is now full until late 2022.
The first wave of apprentices began their induction at Willerby last week and were welcomed to the business by Willerby CEO Peter Munk, finance director Sue Allan and head of people Susan Pender. The rest of the new recruits will join in the next few weeks.
Susan said: “I’m so excited about this because it says so much about the investment we’re putting into the front end of people’s careers. It demonstrates Willerby’s commitment to supporting our local community and putting something back as our business grows.
“It’s great that we can offer these apprenticeships to young people who perhaps otherwise wouldn’t have had opportunities such as this, because of the pandemic, or haven’t had the greatest end to their formal education because of the disruption in schools and colleges caused by COVID.
“It’s fantastic to celebrate our 75th year as the UK’s number one manufacturer of holiday homes with our largest ever cohort of apprentices.”
Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy, a former shadow minister for further education and universities, welcomed the bumper crop of young recruits.
She said: “Willerby said it intended to bring on board the biggest intake of young talent in its history and it’s great to see the company delivering on that promise.
“It’s fantastic to see these young people starting their careers off with one of Hull’s biggest and best employers.
“With this recruitment of more than 30 male and female apprentices, Willerby is helping develop and secure the careers of these young people and this is great news for employability in Hull.”
Willerby has partnered with Hull Business Training Centre and East Riding College to deliver the apprenticeships.
Chris Dolman, strategic development manager at Hull Business Training Centre, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for these apprentices to join one of Hull’s largest employers and it offers them so much potential for development and progression.”