Integra Buildings in East Yorkshire has moved to an expanded site at Paull and recruited nine apprentices, including joiners, welders and designers.
MD Gary Parker said: “The last few years have seen massive growth, both within the modular buildings industry and in terms of investment in our own business. Apprentices have always formed part of our growth plans. When we first moved to our former site at Burstwick we expanded and recruited a few apprentices, most of whom are still with us and are now in their thirties. Now we’re at our new site we’ve taken on another nine new apprentices, all in the past six months. All of them are doing really well, they’re really keen.
“I was lucky enough to get an apprenticeship at 16 and train as an electrician. I had that opportunity and I’m hoping these lads get the same break.”
One of those new apprentices is Karl Johnson, 20, from Hornsea. He is a design and draughtsperson apprentice, working in the technical team at Integra. He said, “I went to Hornsea Sixth Form and did my A-Levels but didn’t want to go to university, so looked for an apprenticeship. Uni just wasn’t for me so this was a good option. I’ve enjoyed working alongside studying – it gets you where you want to be. It gives you a bit more of an advantage in some cases because it’s hard to get a job right out of uni at the moment and you come out with a ridiculous amount of debt. If you’ve got the technical experience then it gives you an advantage over your peers and you get to make money whilst you’re getting your qualifications.”
Integra was started in 1997 at Tokenspire Business Park in Beverley and later moved to Burstwick before consolidating the company’s offices and production facilities in Paull last year. Integra currently employ 100 people – plus sub-contractors within the supply chain – in the local area.
They mainly supply educational buildings to local councils but are also supplying to organisations like Sport England and the NHS. Another part of the business supplies bespoke marketing suites to major housing developers across the UK.
Developing the apprenticeship scheme has proved worthwhile for the growing business. Gary said, “We sometimes struggle to recruit time-served people of the right calibre and I think it’s good to give young people the same opportunity that was afforded to me. I’m looking for our apprentices to still be with us in 10 or 20 years’ time – that’s the way forward.
“Recruiting these apprentices has been a really positive experience so far. On our new site, we’ve got everything in place to accommodate growth in our apprenticeship scheme, including an on-site training room and our new welfare facilities, where assessors can meet with our apprentices.”
All the new apprentices the company has recruited have been through East Riding College.
“We’ve been really happy working with the College – it’s been very straightforward, absolutely perfect really.”