Render Alarms

When Render Alarms couldn’t find the apprenticeship standard they needed locally, Skills for Growth worked to get the training introduced in the Tees Valley.

Preparing for the future with Skills for Growth

Middlesbrough-based Render Alarms put their people at the very heart of their service. The firm, which has been operating for more than 30 years, designs, installs, and maintains fire and security systems.

IT Manager, Mike Dickons, explained: “Render Alarms offer services within a 30-mile radius of our Middlesbrough Office as we believe in offering our customers a local service, with engineers they know and trust.”

Having a high-skilled, well-trained team of engineers is central to securing the business’s future success and the firm is putting an emphasis on apprenticeships to help plug skills gaps, now and in the future.

Mike told us: “The Fire and Security industry has a massive shortage in qualified engineers. The majority of Fire & Security companies in the country are looking to expand their engineering teams. We see apprentices as the future of the business and the best way to grow the business.”

Plugging a gap in local training

The business had previously secured apprenticeship funding in 2017 but recently needed more help as there were no providers available locally offering the apprenticeship standard they needed.

Mike said: “Recent changes in the industry stipulated that apprentices must complete a Fire, Emergency and Security Systems (FESS) qualification as part of their apprenticeship, but the closest supplier was over an hour’s drive away which isn’t practical for an apprentice. We really were in a difficult situation as we rely on apprentices coming through to grow the company.

That’s where the Skills for Growth team came in. They supported the business and worked with the Education Training Collective to introduce the standard locally at Redcar College. Three apprentices from Render Alarms enrolled on the programme to complete their level 3 FESS Technician standard, alongside a further eight apprentices from other local security companies who also benefited from the new training standard.

Mike continued: “Our Skills Development Officer worked hard to identify potential providers and discussed the possibilities with them. Skills for Growth saved us by finding a training provider who could deliver the course we needed for our apprentices – without that we would never have been able to take on another.”

Thanks to this joined up working, Render Alarms is looking forward to welcoming more apprentices into the business.

Mike said: “It fills us with pride to see our apprentices develop, fresh out of school and having never held a screwdriver in their hands, to being fully competent engineers going out on their first job. They then go on to train new apprentices and help the company to grow.”

Succession Planning

It’s not just apprentices within the business to benefit. The current management structure will be evolving as the original directors are starting to prepare for retirement. Three members of the engineering team have been earmarked to take over in the future.

These employees will need upskilling to get to grips with strategic growth and planning, as well as leadership and management skills. Skills for Growth introduced the team to two fully-funded courses to support this development, including a three day ‘Going for Growth’ course with Enterprise Made Simple, as well as a six-month ‘Leading Growth’ programme delivered by Teesside University.

The Skills Development Plan also identified digital skills gaps and the need for IT, cyber security and social media training to futureproof the business, as well as additional health and safety standards.

The Skills for Growth team introduced the business to seven more fully-funded courses and programmes, with a total of 18 employees now enrolled across relevant training.

About Skills for Growth

The Skills for Growth programme works in partnership with Teesside University and is supported by the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.

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