Nurturing talent: apprentices of today... the Barr Group leaders of tomorrow
For two decades young people have joined the Barr Group as apprentices and gone on to become valued skilled tradesmen and women, administrators and managers across the organisation.
As a building and manufacturing company, our workforce is the lifeblood of our company. We aim to employ and retain the best people, training and promoting from within wherever possible.
The Barr Group apprenticeship scheme, ensures that our values and standards are passed on from one generation of skilled workpeople to the next, resulting in a team who all work to the same exacting standards.
A summer work experience program has always provided a direct feed into the apprenticeship scheme. Through offering work experience placements, the Barr Group are able to help young people to get a better understanding of the world of work, which we hope, will help them make informed life choices. The scheme links us to the local community as well as enriching the educational and work lives of all involved. This year, unable to host work experience students, Barr Group took a ‘virtual’ work experience to Lord Williams’s school, by means of a video introduction to members of the team and their roles within the company.
In the absence of our normal feed of enthusiastic young people we are able to announce that we are on the lookout for looking for two new apprentice trainee site-carpenters and an apprentice buyer to join the administrative team. The roles will run in collaboration with the appropriate educational institution, balancing ‘real life’ and college learning. The program, run by Barr Group training co-ordinator Charlie Barr, ensures that each apprentice is carefully mentored by an expert skilled tradesperson and line-manager to guarantee that they get the very best training and development.
Over the years our apprenticeship scheme and our apprentices themselves have won awards and become industry ambassadors – a tribute to the amazing mentors who have dedicated their time to patiently guide and encourage the young people who have come to us - thank you to you all (you know who you are!). In conjunction, some years ago, Barr Group Director, Stuart Barr, was delighted to be able to work with the FMB on the foundations of the government’s Apprenticeship Trailblazer Scheme, sharing best practice and improving UK apprenticeship standards across the industry.
A great example is Jasmine Stallwood, who came to us in 2019 as an aspiring cabinet maker. Jasmine has worked in the Barr Joinery workshop for three days a week, where she has been mentored by our Workshop Manager Nathan McPhil and experienced bench joiner Max Watterson. The other two days have been spent at Rycotewood, now part of Oxford City College. At Rycotewood Jasmine was mentored by former Barr Joinery Manager, Josh Hudson who in now Furniture Lead at this long established institution. Josh and Stuart (Barr) both graduated from Rycotewood as precision cabinet makers (many years ago!) and now Josh is back there, inspiring and teaching young people, through the passing on of his immense commercial and practical skills and knowledge. “Jasmine has been a valuable member of the team and an asset to the workshop. We would like to thank her for her hard work and dedication throughout her apprenticeship.” Says Lucy White, Barr Joinery General Manager