Q&A With Katrina Maltman - Human Resources

Posted 18 March 2013

Tags: Staff Q&A

What is your role at FS Cables?

I am involved in all aspects of HR administration. Most of my time over the last few months was spent on recruitment, mainly focused on trainees for our Apprenticeship Training Programme. I am also responsible for ensuring that all our policies and procedures are up to date and meet current legislation.

What functions does HR perform? 

Our customer service is key, therefore training and development plays a big part of the HR function as the company grows. In addition, I look after the day to day running of the department which includes recruitment, personnel records and issuing and monitoring staff contracts.

Tell us more about the apprenticeship programme?

We initially started with 2 apprentices back in April, which we found to work extremely well. We have developed the training programme by introducing a rotational aspect where each trainee spends time in all departments in order to have a better understanding of the entire company and how everything contributes to overall results. 

Each department has produced a training manual with various modules which are aimed at three key areas. Firstly competence - what the trainee will be able to do when they leave each department. Secondly awareness - areas which are outside their direct tasks but will have a significant impact on the way they look after customers. Lastly is general information – any other useful information in the long term of which they may have no current knowledge.

How does it work? 

Apprenticeships are work based training programmes and are designed around the company’s needs and the specific roles the trainees are taken on to do. Once an external training provider has been appointed they will support and assess the trainee throughout the programme. 

The apprenticeship framework consists of a competence based element, an NVQ, a knowledge based element which is a technical certificate, transferable or ‘key’ skills and finally employment rights and responsibilities. A programme will normally take between 9 to 12 months to complete.

Who has been recruited so far? 

We have recruited 5 apprentices this year so far; Jensen Smart, Carla Luck, Mel Watson, Jamie Turner and Jacques Rose. Carla and Jensen have been with the company for 8 months and were employed in the UK Sales department.

Jensen has started his rotation and is currently working in the Purchasing department and is enjoying his time there. We are currently looking to recruit another two people for the apprenticeship training programme.

What training do they receive? 

Apprenticeships work towards a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), this is designed to test competence and shows that the trainee can carry out their specific job role effectively. In conjunction with this, the assessors will ensure that each trainee will develop technical knowledge and key skills. 

The combination of practical and theoretical learning ensures that the trainee obtains a well-formed learning experience. 

What are the benefits? 

As we see it the benefit to the business is that we will have fully-trained individuals who have gained a greater understanding of the company as a whole and will be able to put what they have learned into practice. We are committed to investing in all staff by offering a fully comprehensive training programme and the apprenticeship scheme ensures that our new staff have the practical skills and qualifications to meet both our needs and more importantly those of the customer.

Why did the company decide to implement the scheme? The current difficulties of the country and in particular employment issues affecting the young are well documented. Our aim was to do our bit to help and at the same time get really engaged, well trained employees who will hopefully stay with the company for many years. We have been massively impressed by the quality and enthusiasm of many applicants and are comfortable we have got some real talent coming through.

We cannot change the world, but we can make a difference to a small number of people leaving school and college in the Hertfordshire area. If you have a suitable vacancy it is well worth getting in touch with your local youth employment team, you could make a big difference to someone.