Will Davies-Hill, Apprenticeship Manager, Bri-Stor Group
After a twenty-year career in the Army, retiring as a Warrant Officer in 2015, Will Davies-Hill was ready for the next chapter in his career. Joining Bri-Stor Systems and securing a position in the electrics team, Will slotted straight into the fast-paced and dynamic culture of the business and was immediately struck by the firm’s attitude towards career progression and personal development, as he explains: “Having spent two decades of my life in the military I’m well aware of the importance of discipline and personal improvement and these are two values that I recognised in Bri-Stor Group, so when the opportunity came up to advance my own career as the Apprenticeship Manager I jumped at the chance. I’d already observed the fantastic opportunity our Apprentices were being given but I knew, with the right support, I could take the Scheme to the next level.”
Six years on and Will and the wider teams in the Group have developed a fully accredited Apprenticeship Scheme, recruiting approximately 15 students each year to join one of the region’s fastest growing businesses. With strong ties to both engineering and manufacturing disciplines the Bri-Stor Group Apprenticeship Scheme is in high demand, Will continues: “My dedicated role is all about nurturing and developing young talent. We attract applicants from across the county who can see the diverse and exciting nature of our Scheme and I believe that’s because we’ve embedded the real ethos of Apprenticeship into our scheme – giving young people the opportunity to put their ambitions first.
“My own career experience in the military has given me a unique insight into what drives and motivates young people, often in challenging situations, so I have brought this experience to Bri-Stor Group and today, we are delivering what I believe is a solid blend of learning, experience and the opportunity to use initiative and self-discipline. It has to be said though, we know how to have fun and we love the comradery amongst the Apprentices – we give them ample opportunity to let off steam and really bring their personalities to the work place. There is space in this business for everybody, our role is simply to nurture their talent.”
While year one and two of the Scheme are focused on learning and experiencing different roles, in year three, the Apprentices are getting stuck into a role which matches their ambition, talent and the needs of the business. According to Will, this transition can be more challenging for some than others, but Will has this to say: “whether an Apprentice is joining us at 16, 18 or even older, we understand that coming into the work place can be a daunting prospect. In year one we spend a lot of time focusing on business etiquette and expected behaviour – these are essential skills that need to be acquired but we do it in a subtle way and by year two, they’ve seamlessly transitioned from pupil to colleague.”
With the pandemic affecting both education and workplace training for almost every business in the UK, Bri-Stor Group has adapted its Scheme to ensure Apprentices can stay on track, Will comments: “It’s been a challenging time, no question, but we have a robust plan in place to ensure year one Apprentices can continue with the three-year plan. That’s just one of the benefits of joining Bri-Stor Group, our fully accredited Apprenticeship Scheme is highly regarded but our intake numbers enable us to flex as situations beyond our control change. That said, I am incredibly proud of the resilience our Apprentices have shown in the last 12 months – these are incredibly challenging times and it’s testament to their attitude and team-spirit that they all continue to grow and develop their business skills.”
What are you looking for in this year’s Apprentices? “We are in tough times and we are keen to see how applicants have responded to the uncertainty of education through a pandemic. Those that have continued to show determination to succeed will thrive at the Bri-Stor Group.”