Locally Solving The Skills Shortage

With the UK in the midst of a much-publicised skills shortage, one local company is rethinking its tactics to invest back into the St Albans economy, attract local talent and establish a committed, competent workforce.

Amthal has invested in local apprenticeships since its inception, with the majority being employed, retained and promoted; it’s still conscious of the growing talent gap when it comes to recruitment.

The company is now looking at innovative ways to recruit locally from outside its core security roots, with the Directors and senior team supervising new starters to help fast track training in specialist areas across the company.

Jamie Allam, Commercial Director of Amthal who heads Recruitment, comments:

“In today’s business world, there are not many who would deny that the skills shortage is at critical level.

“From our perspective, the biggest issue with the skills shortage is that people have no long-term experience and there is a lack of engineers understanding the specific disciplines of the industry, being trained as ‘multi-disciplined’ which often does not suit the intricacy of design in security and fire safety.

“Instead of seeing this as a barrier – we chose to commit to a local apprenticeship programme to encourage job-specific skills and complement more traditional workers in our business. And now we are applying the same principles to our recruitment strategy.”

One success is Matthew Johnson, who originally applied to Amthal through Oaklands College for an Apprenticeship in Business Administration. Now five years later, Matt is an established part of the team and Sales Account Manager, trained directly by all three Directors.

Says Matt: “When I first applied at Amthal I was approaching it from a different background from the fire and security industry or even office-based work. But I was looking for an opportunity to start an apprenticeship in business administration.

“My official starting job role was Business Administrator, although included in this I was shown all areas of the business from invoicing procedures to face to face meetings with clients.

“This, together with working closely with Jamie initially, helped me gain an understanding of all processes through the company, which now means I understand what is required as a Sales Account Manager to assist our internal teams.

“Supporting colleagues in the different areas of the business presented me the opportunity to get a full understanding of the business and helped me choose which role I would like to concentrate on and progress once I had completed my apprenticeship.”

“Five years later and I know I can go to Jamie, John or Paul for guidance. I continue to be trained and I feel my apprenticeship route gave me the best chance to succeed in a new account manager’s role, even if it is completely different to my starting position!”

“This hasn’t always been easy with me being new to this industry, but the Directors continue to show faith in me to achieve targets set in this role, which is now coming to fruition. The support they’ve given me has driven me to succeed and together with the team, we can ensure business growth. I look forward to the next five years!”

Jamie concluded: “The new generation under careful leadership has undoubtedly supported our growth and helped us to embrace new ways of working and communicating.”

“Matt is a prime example and our most recent engineering recruit, came from an advertising background in the automotive industry! “We genuinely believe that our commitment to our apprentices and new starters, even coming from different industries, has enabled us to find and nurture the best talent and establish skills sets to ensure we can evolve our business, and better serve our local community.”

As featured in The Herts Ad, 31 May 2018