A BUILDERS' merchant is defying the doom and gloom in the construction sector by expanding its apprenticeship scheme and taking on more staff.
Gateshead-based James Burrell initially planned to take on just one young person when the firm launched its apprenticeship programme at the start of last year.
But the quality of candidates coming forward has meant the number of apprentices has quadrupled in six months.
The three new starters are Connor Robinson and James Stewart, who are both 20, and 17-year-old Dan Hawthorn. They have been joined on the apprenticeship programme by existing staff member Daniel Fahey, 19, who had previously spent time on holiday placements and worked on the trade counter at the Gateshead depot.
All four apprentices are following a one-year programme as warehousing operatives and completing an intermediate apprenticeship, but will also get to work in all areas of the business from logistics and sales to operations and customer services.
Alyson Graham, HR manager at James Burrell, said: “We have a great workforce at James Burrell and many long-serving members of staff.
“We wanted to bring in new employees who could work in all areas of the business from the warehouse logistics and customer services through our trade counters, to working in the back office on administration and operations.
“The advantage of taking apprentices into our business is that they can rotate around the entire business in the early part of their career and we can then assess where they will work best in the long term.”