Introducing Kärcher UK - Cherwell Business Awards Apprenticeship of the Year finalists

Congratulations to Kärcher UK Ltd, one of our three Cherwell Business Awards Apprenticeship of the Year finalists 2016! Read on to find out all about the firm and what made their Apprenticeships stand out from the crowd...

Banbury based Kärcher UK Ltd are a sales and service provider for Kärcher Cleaning Machines. They cover a wide range of product types from home and garden machines, domestic pressure washers, steam cleaners, vacuums, to a professional range such as road sweepers. Their service division repairs and maintains those machines for their customers.

The company offer two types of Apprenticeship:

1. A specialist role such as Engineering, Human Resources or Finance, where the Apprentice focuses on one area of the business and specialises in a qualification in that area. However, their apprenticeship always includes a 4 week period where the Apprentice moves around the company working in all departments so that they are able to gain an understanding of how the business operates.

2. A varied role where the Apprentice studies Business Admin or Customer Service and spends 2 years moving around the business spending approximately 8 weeks in each department. Towards the end of this time, the Apprentice and the company can reflect on the strengths and preferences of the Apprentice so that a permanent placement can be found to suit the company and the individual.

Whenever the company takes on a type 1 Apprentice, their goal is to offer them a permanent position on completion of the Apprenticeship, so Apprenticeships are offered in areas of the business where future growth is seen or where there is a focus on succession planning.

In recent years the company has seen ongoing growth and the recruitment of Apprentices is a key aim for our business. A typical 2 year Apprenticeship affords us the time to plan and review their training in order to identify where their permanent role will be.

To date, 4 Apprentices have completed programmes, with 2 Apprentices currently in post in Business Admin and Engineering roles. A further intake of 6 Apprentices is planned for September 2016 - 2 Engineering and 4 Business Admin/Customer Service roles.

Learning & Development Manager Beverley Rees says: “When we began offering Apprenticeships, we started on a one by one basis so that we could learn and develop the offering, being very aware that this is a young person’s career in our hands. As we become more informed and experienced, we are gradually increasing our intake. We take part in networking events where we can explore other company’s programmes and ideas to help us develop our own.”

Meet Apprentice Luke

Luke Jennings joined Kärcher in 2013 as their first Business Administration Apprentice when he was 16 and from the start impressed staff with his keen and hardworking attitude, inter-personnel skills and willingness to try anything. When the time came to offer him a permanent position, his knowledge of Kärcher products gave the company a great opportunity to launch a new position of Technical Sales Advisor for Luke within the customer service centre. Beverley says: “We are now able to provide a better customer service experience because of him.”

Luke was awarded the Plus One Personnel Apprentice of the Year Award in January this year, a testament both to his attitude and commitment and to the investment in his career that Kärcher have demonstrated throughout his Apprenticeship and beyond.

Luke says: “My Apprenticeship involved moving around different departments of the company over 2 years, spending  2-3 months in each department to gain knowledge on what each department does and how it impacts on the company. This I found to be a fantastic way to understand first-hand how a company overall operates. In between these moves, I would also be treated to days out with our demonstrators to see our products in action, as well as going to all kinds of events. Not only was I learning every day how a successful company is built, but my education was taken further as well.”

“Every single step of the way I have had great support, acknowledgement and fantastic colleagues to help me through the 2 years. I went from knowing virtually nothing about the on-goings inside a company to winning Apprentice of the year in Oxfordshire. This is all thanks to Kärcher and their outstanding Apprenticeship scheme. I owe a lot to Kärcher and truly believe they do ‘Make A Difference’.”

On being CBA finalists...

Learning & Development Manager Beverly Rees said of being a CBA Apprenticeship of the Year finalist: “We are delighted that Kärcher have been selected in the final three for the Apprenticeship Program Award with CBA. Kärcher believe that our employees are our most important asset so we are working very hard to ensure that our apprenticeship opportunity continues to be a robust and exciting program that will cause bright young people to aspire to join our company.”

Pictured above are Apprentices Luke Jennings and Megan Wilkes with Learning & Development Manager Beverley Rees, with the Apprentice Torch, which has been touring the Thames Valley to demonstrate the passing of knowledge from employer to Apprentice.