Cllr Nick Forbes, the Leader of Newcastle City Council, visited JT Dove Builders’ Merchant this week at its head office in Newburn, Newcastle to meet with eight graduates of the trainee scheme and present awards to two long service employees.
Cllr Forbes met with JT Dove’s managing director, Steve Robinson and discussed the importance of investment in staff from apprentices to long serving and the value of SME builders & allied trades in creating and retaining local jobs and growth. They also discussed the vital role of builders’ merchants in a re-invigorated construction & housing industry, the economic outlook for core markets in both new build and repair, maintenance & improvement and the importance of merchants in explaining new products, applications & regulation. They also looked at how to boost economic activity and balance housing demand with supply & regeneration.
Robinson said: “Cllr Forbes and the JT Dove management examined the role, value and importance of the supply chain to North-East England’s economy, where further investment is needed in vocational training & skills including apprentices. As a company we put our heart into this and it is how today we could have eight apprenticeship graduates ready to meet our guest.”
The eight 19 to 25 year old apprentices have trained hard for the last two years on an intensive training course, that saw them doing group training, personal projects, experience days, visits to manufacturers and a team building event. On a day-to-day basis each of the trainees operated in their own branch under the watchful eye of their branch manager
The applicants had to have a minimum education standard of 5 GCSE’s, but personality and understanding of the Dove ethos was more important.
Val Walton who has been with the company for 40 years, and Margaret Ornsby who has been part of the team for 45 years, received long service awards from Cllr Forbes.
Cllr Forbes said: “I am committed to ensuring that Newcastle is working city where there are good quality jobs for everyone. Construction is going to be an important part of our economic development – particularly as we work with developers to build more houses, modernise existing homes and invest in the roads and infrastructure.
” I am keen to learn from a key supplier to trade how future prospects look to them. And I want to learn more about how companies like JT Dove are investing in young apprentices to make sure they are equipped with the skills they need for the future.”
“The north east economy is built on successful firms like JT Dove and I believe it is really important for politicians to fully understand what we can do to help businesses like this to thrive, be that through close working relationships with local businesses or longer term by working with schools in our learning challenge.”
The visit was facilitated by the Builders Merchants Federation.