Halfords, whose head office is based in Redditch, will recruit 600 new trainees over the next 12 months in a bid to reduce the skills gap, Employment Minister Priti Patel announced on 16 February.
The move will see a trainee placed in almost every Halfords store throughout the UK and provide a welcome boost to its apprentice numbers for 2016. The initiative, announced as National Apprenticeship Week begins, will see a trainee placed in almost every Halfords store throughout the UK and provide a welcome boost to its apprentice numbers for 2016.
The significant increase in trainees follows the success of the programme to date which has boasted nearly 200 candidates securing part or full time roles, whilst Halfords was also named as a Top 100 Apprenticeship provider by the Skills Funding Agency last month.
Halfords is raising the bar with its traineeship pre-employment programme, which equips candidates with four qualifications. Those completing the three weeks of intense training will gain Halfords’ Gear 1 level training, a Retail Level 1 certificate, an Employability & Personal Development Certificate, and Level 1 or 2 in Maths & English.
The scheme is open to people who are currently unemployed, long-term unemployed and NEETS (not in education, employment or training) and on completion of the above training, candidates are interviewed and, if successful, offered apprenticeships.
Employment Minister, Priti Patel, said: “At a time when we have record employment in the UK, traineeships not only provide life changing opportunities for young people, but they also deliver brilliant results for business.
“This is why it is great to see a major retailer like Halfords make a real commitment to traineeships by not only running the programme, but increasing the number of places it has offered year on year.
“Initiatives like this will play a significant role in helping to reach the Government’s target to create three million apprenticeships by 2020.”
Halfords’ People Director, Jonathan Crookall said: “We wanted to go above and beyond the usual apprenticeship model, and by offering pre-employment training to our candidates, we’re raising the bar for training in the retail industry. We will train 600 trainees across Halfords in the next year and see huge potential for the programme in preparing young people for work and a bright new talent into the industry.”
Halfords also has run an Apprentice Scheme in its Autocentre business for over 20 years and currently has 176 apprentices employed in the business, with a pass rate currently at 80% for completion of the three year full time Apprenticeship.
Halfords has 11,000 employees and was named as one of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2015 as well as named number 18 in the Sunday Times Best Places to Work Survey 2015.
To find out more about Halfords training and apprenticeships, visit the Halfords website.