Palletline has transformed its apprenticeship scheme with the help of a former apprentice.

The network’s bespoke training is led by health and safety co-ordinator Liam Pegg, 25, who started with Palletline at the age of 17 and completed his own apprenticeship just five years ago.

Last year, Pegg was tasked with revolutionising the scheme, taking into account his own experiences to benefit the new recruits.

Working in partnership with health and safety manager Ken Bell, the course was re-designed to meet the needs of individual apprentices to ensure they all achieve their potential, through on-site learning.

Students undertake an individual learning needs analysis with Pegg to find out their existing skills and their goals for the future. This in turn allows Pegg to adapt the course as necessary.

The working day sees the apprentices arrive at 8am and leave at 4.30pm to give them a rounded experience of how both the morning and afternoon shifts work and experience of different peak periods throughout the day.

As part of the course, which is made up of 374 hours of training, apprentices learn all of Palletline’s processes, including 38 health and safety, 20 operational and seven environmental modules.

These vary from accident investigation and quality control to correctly parking a forklift truck, gatehouse security and laser thermometer training for Covid checks.

The candidates are also given fire marshal and first aid training and Palletline is looking to introduce training from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.

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On completion all apprentices are required to complete an independent end point assessment (EPA) to demonstrate they have obtained the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours to achieve competence in the sector.

Midlands-based Training Provider, Juniper Training is working with Palletline to deliver the apprenticeship scheme, which includes the Level 2 Supply Chain Warehouse Operative Apprenticeship Standard.

Pegg said: “Generally apprentices are sent off to college where they might be learning about things that aren’t relevant to them, then when they arrive back on the shop floor, they can’t necessarily apply everything they have learnt on their course because it’s not relevant to their own operation.

“But here we have a tailor-made apprenticeship which allows them to build their skills and experience while learning from inside the business.”

He added: “The apprenticeship also gives apprentices greater opportunity to understand which areas of the job they are good at and what brings them the most enjoyment. It’s a great way to bring out the best in them – which is demonstrated by last year’s intakes who have excelled since completing their course.”

The diversity of the candidates has also improved, Pegg said. “Historically, our apprentices have been young males, within the 18 to 19 age bracket, but this year we’re really pleased to have attracted a range of young people to join our apprenticeship scheme, including two young women looking to kick start their careers in logistics and a 16-year-old unable to complete work experience through his school due to Covid.”

Pegg added that whilst the course is designed to ensure the apprentices are employable anywhere, the key aim is to retain the home-grown talent within Palletline, particularly in the light of the current shortage of permanent FLT drivers.

“This year’s intake are asking a lot of questions and even challenging their more experienced colleagues, which is what we want as it helps them as they progress,” Pegg said.

“When I was an apprentice, I was always asking questions so I could learn. They put so much faith in me that I ran the security hut. It is the same throughout the company. The more our apprentices learn, the more they reap the rewards. Their future is in their hands.”

Natalie Weaver, apprenticeship employment engagement support and coach at Juniper Training commented: “We are delighted to once again be supporting Palletline’s apprenticeship programme. We received a great response, and we are looking forward to yet another successful year.”