Since Haith's Heating was established in 2000, staff turnover has been negligible. Owner Andy Haith believes this is a reflection of the environment he provides for his workforce and the positive way they are treated. For him, recruiting apprentices means he benefits from home-grown skills carefully honed to his exacting standards.

We're committed to an apprenticeship ethos and currently employ 3 apprentices; they're key to the development of our business. At present we operate a rolling training programme, so our business evolves every other year and our team builds in capacity as the apprentices graduate into fully qualified operatives.

In the early days when the business was first growing we became exceptionally busy and I recruited qualified fitters to help us in the short term. Because they had been in the industry for a long time they had their own ways of working, not how I wanted it to be done, and it was hard for them to adapt. As soon as we were able, we took the step to recruit apprentices and bring our training in-house to ensure consistency of skills and approach.

By working in this way we can train new employees to our company's high standards and mould them into our way of working. Overall we find this approach more efficient and cost-effective; ultimately we can promote our business as one that uses its own, fully skilled, competent operatives.

Our training extends to our clients as well as our staff. Grimsby Institute is not only our training provider but also a client of ours. We've been able to support them by taking their maintenance staff out to work on some of our projects, to help them develop and provide experience in different disciplines. This works well for both organisations and strengthens our relationship with an important client. Our partnership with Grimsby Institute works well and we benefit from regular reviews and a clear structure for apprenticeship development. Using the support of an external provider means you always have a clear process to work through if there are any issues to address.

In this business you have to care: I care that customers are happy, I care about getting repeat business and I care about my team. The company view that we hold at the top filters down to the whole workforce, who in turn take pride in their work.

Some of our competitors hire and fire on a monthly basis depending on their workload, but that doesn't breed loyalty. If your staff are not loyal, standards will slip. I've been called to jobs serviced by companies that use agency staff and witnessed the poor quality of workmanship left behind by these people.

If you train your own staff, you'll achieve a higher quality of work, which leads to a greater trust from clients and customers. We base our business around the best service, which means standards have got to be high - and you can only do that through developing your own people.
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