It’s National Apprenticeship Week!

And, with all the additional challenges facing young people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s never been a better time to highlight the importance of businesses going the extra mile to support young people in their career development.

W.Howard Group has a long history of supporting apprentices, and always has a number of young people working for the group while completing apprenticeships in their desired field.

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we caught up with some of those currently working at W.Howard, to find out why they chose the apprenticeship route.

Max Boardman started his apprenticeship in July 2017 as a Logistics Apprentice – a position he successfully completed in November 2018. Now, he is the company’s UK Distribution Planner, planning and routing all the orders within the W.Howard Group, to ensure they are delivered to customers on time and in the most cost-effective way possible.

Max says: “At college I studied biology, maths and physical education, but when I’d finished I decided I wanted to start making a living, instead of going to university. When I first heard about the position with W.Howard Group as a Logistics Apprentice I didn’t have a clue what logistics was, but after some research I thought this would be a really exciting role, and I’m always looking for a new challenge.”

Max really enjoyed his apprenticeship, and now has a great knowledge of the motorway networks, postcodes, and time management.

“I would really recommend an apprenticeship,” he says. “It’s a great way to start working and earning a living. Although my apprenticeship is now finished, I’m still really enjoying the work I do, and the fact that every day I have to problem-solve to meet our customers’ needs: it’s still a really fun challenge.”

Inspired by his time at W.Howard, Max has his sights set firmly on a future in logistics, and hopes to become a Transport Manager, then a Logistics Manager, before his ultimate goal of becoming Operations Director.

Matthew Bellin is currently working as an apprentice Product Data Analyst at W.Howard, having joined the company straight after completing his A-Levels. Like Max, Matthew chose an apprenticeship over university because he wanted to gather work experience, as well as other qualifications.

He says: “I’ve been an apprentice at W.Howard for one-and-a-half years now. When I started I had already done a few days’ work experience here, so I knew a bit about the company and the role. Day-to-day, I create quotes for customers and make sure that all of our product codes are kept up to date.”

Matthew is thoroughly enjoying his apprenticeship, and says he hopes to stay with the company for as long as possible, hopefully while completing a degree in his spare time. “I really enjoy the friendly atmosphere in the office – everyone here treats me as another member of the team, and not ‘just’ as an apprentice,” he says.

Group Commercial Director, Simon Fleet, adds: “We are very proud of our history of taking on apprentices here at W.Howard, and also of the hard work and dedication shown by the apprentices who join us. During National Apprenticeship Week, we would encourage any business who hasn’t yet taken on an apprentice to consider doing so. They are a great and valued part of our team, and we learn a lot from them, just as they learn from us."