Apprentices aged between 20 to 61 years old and are amongst the 123 apprentices to graduate from B&Q’s Retail Team Leader, Level Three apprenticeship scheme, after successfully completing the 18 month store-based course.
This is the first wave of B&Q apprentices to graduate, with more than 600 others scheduled to complete apprenticeships by the end of this year.
The apprenticeship graduation ceremony was a celebration of success for the apprentices and took place at the Manufacturing and Technology Centre in Coventry on Thursday 30 January. The event was also attended by B&Q CEO Graham Bell, B&Q retail director Paul Crisp and Andy Moat, B&Q people director, all of whom co-hosted the event and offered their congratulations and support to the new graduates. Ollie Ollerton, former Special Forces operative with both the SAS and SBS and from the Channel 4 television show SAS Who Dares Wins, also attended the event as celebrity guest speaker.
As well as receiving a recognised qualification, the graduates also received a completion certificate and a Class of 2019 commemorative badge. The event saw eight additional awards handed out, five of which were given to apprentices from across the UK who had clearly and continuously demonstrated B&Q’s brand values; Together, Simplicity, Humility, Curiosity and Excellence. In addition, two special recognition awards were awarded for Apprenticeship Ambassador and Can Do Sprit, there was also an award for the mentor who had gone above and beyond to support their apprentices.
Launched in 2017 and supported and facilitated by Lifetime Training, the Retail Team Leader, Level Three apprenticeship scheme aims to gives B&Q store colleagues the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to be successful in their role and equip them with essential life skills. With apprentices aging from 20 through to 61 years old, the scheme is one of the most age diverse in the industry and is part of the retailer’s ongoing commitment to making B&Q a great place to work.
B&Q believe there are clear links and benefits between learning, engaged employees and ultimately, productivity, with stores where staff are committed to learning found to be some of the best performing. Since the launch of the store-based apprenticeships in 2017, further apprenticeships have been added across the business with 28 additional schemes including business management and leadership, legal, finance, HR and IT.
Paul Crisp, retail director at B&Q commented: “We’re delighted to see our first wave of B&Q apprentices graduate and applaud them for all of their hard work and dedication throughout the duration of the course. Our colleagues are the beating heart of B&Q, and we‘re committed to their growth and development as part of our commitment to make B&Q a great place to work.
"That’s why we’ve expanded the range of apprenticeships we offer, and by May 2020, we’re aiming to have 1,100 colleague apprentices in the business. It’s a fantastic opportunity for people from all walks of life to enjoy a career with us in a sector they’re passionate about.”
Aimee Edwards, winner of the B&Q Apprenticeship Ambassador Award, commented: “It’s a proud event for all the apprentices graduating, and I’m thrilled to have been a part of the first wave at B&Q - winning the B&Q Apprenticeship Ambassador Award is a bonus! Throughout the course, I’ve learned invaluable skills and thoroughly enjoyed being able to put everything I’ve learned into practice, both during my time as an apprentice and in my new role as I develop my career following my recent promotion to a management position.”