The Government and industry leaders regularly cite the skills shortage as one of the factors holding back the UK economy, and particularly construction, while there are still far too few apprenticeships available to remedy the situation.
Meanwhile with much of the effort and investment being targeted at the country’s one million NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) it will hearten many people currently looking at the jobs market to learn there is a nationally active cosmetic repairs specialist willing to provide comprehensive training for recruits of all ages; irrespective of their past experience.
Enjoying a record year after managing to grow its business throughout the recession, Plastic Surgeon is currently running its seventh series of courses for new intakes this year; having attracted applicants from many different backgrounds and parts of the country.
One of the current trainee Finishers is aged 41 and lives with his family in the East Midlands. Now on the final stage of his preliminary training, Andrew is about to return to begin working for Plastic Surgeon’s Eastern Region under the guidance of a senior Finisher.
Andrew recounted: “I was on the Internet hoping to find a new job and first spotted the opportunity with Plastic Surgeon listed on the Government website. It sounded ideal for me and offered just about everything I was looking for.
“I had done quite a lot of construction work before including renovation of both large and small properties, and worked abroad building holiday apartments. I’d also been part of a maintenance team for a large building, but never had any real formal training: so Plastic Surgeon’s very structured training seemed to be the way to progress.”
After his induction week in May, down at Plastic Surgeon’s West Country headquarters – where new recruits get kitted out with a van, protective clothing and all the tools they need – Andrew and his colleagues spent some time out with their mentors seeing how the skills are put into practice. During this period trainee Finishers will assist with masking, filling and other preparation work, though clients are not charged for their input to the contracts being carried out.
He then returned to Bovey Tracey, Devon, to take part in two back-to-back courses: each lasting three days – covering paint spraying and specialist ceramic repairs. These being core skills which Finishers will use time and again during their careers with Plastic Surgeon.
Andrew continued: “I have been really impressed with Plastic Surgeon and its professional approach to the client sectors it serves. Not only has the company provided me with a Renault van which is a very good vehicle to drive, and all the equipment we need to do our job, but the training is really comprehensive. They even put you through all the courses essential to get onto big sites these days, including CSCS. Health and safety is very strongly emphasized.
“To begin with you learn to fill then smooth the surface, as well as other preparation such as protecting the surrounding area and priming. Also very important is learning to mix and match the colour pigments which is why everyone is given a colour perception test before they start the training. Then in the follow up courses you learn about all the different types of spray gun and paints; while the ceramics course includes repairing chips, scratches and even large cracks in baths, basins, etc. Now there will be another long period of being mentored out in the field.
“I really like the work and believe I’ve got good career prospects with Plastic Surgeon: I’m hoping to move up through the grades and get the pay increases that brings. Plus you get to be involved with a wide variety of jobs from housing sites and domestic insurance work, through to big commercial projects.”
Plastic Surgeon’s staff retention is very high and most Finishers will return to the West Country for more courses over the coming months and years: including stone repair and glass polishing.