One of the UK’s largest civil engineering firms revealed how its focus on apprenticeships and career opportunities for all continues to play an integral role in the company’s success.
Ruthin-based Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK hosted Darren Millar MS, Gareth Davies MS and Dr James Davies MP on a visit to its purpose-built training centre at the former North Wales Hospital in Denbigh.
During the event, Jones Bros discussed its goal to recruit 20 apprentices between now and September as well as the benefits for applicants, which includes the chance to gain several qualifications, the ability to work on some of the UK’s leading projects, and career progression.
The civil engineering contractor has recruited more than 100 apprentices in the last three years across its variety of programmes including plant operators, general construction operatives and higher apprenticeships via a HNC and HND.
Jones Bros training manager Garmon Hafal said: “We moved into our training facility in April 2020, and it’s one of the best in the UK for construction apprentices.
“We are passionate about offering career opportunities for everyone across all levels of our apprenticeship programmes.
“For example, we have taken on people who did not perform as well as they would have liked academically and given them skills for life, with upwards of 10 qualifications across 14 months.
“We’ve also welcomed individuals who were seeking to change careers or aiming to take their first steps into the industry.
“We have a 91 per cent course completion rate, with close to 85 per cent staying on with Jones Bros. Both are exceptional numbers and I don’t believe there is a better opportunity for young people looking to get into the construction sector than what we have here.”
The visit included a tour of the training facility as well as the wider former North Wales Hospital site.
Jones Bros has submitted an outline planning application to Denbighshire County Council to redevelop the site by building 300 new homes as well as facilities for local businesses, shops and leisure activities.
Darren Millar, MS for Clwyd West, said: “Jones Bros are one of the UK’s largest civil engineering firms and I am extremely proud that they are based in Ruthin in my constituency.
“It was great to visit on Friday to witness first-hand what they have so far chieved at the former Denbigh Hospital site, with the development of the training centre.
“We were told that the company currently take on around 40 new apprentices each year, providing them with the chance to gain several qualifications, the ability to work on some of the UK’s leading projects, and career progression.
“In the last three years they have recruited more than 100 apprentices and during the meeting we were told that they aim to recruit a further 20 by September this year.
“As well as the obvious benefits of qualifications, it was fascinating to find out the current apprentices are already working on live sites such as the world’s largest off-shore wind farm, which Jones Bros is helping deliver.
“During the visit, we also heard about the company’s future plans for the former hospital site, which include building 300 new homes as well as facilities for local businesses, shops and leisure activities.
“I commend the company on their achievements to date and wish them the best of luck with their future plans.”
Gareth Davies, MS for Vale of Clwyd, said: “With the North Wales Hospital site in Denbigh being vacant since 1995 and being subject to trespassing and vandalism, some development of the site is long overdue.
“It was great to meet Jones Bros to see the work they’ve been doing in their training centre for apprentices, and look forward to the prospect of seeing development of the site coming to fruition in the not too distant future.”
Dr James Davies, MP for Vale of Clwyd, said: “Jones Bros only moved into the new training facility in April last year, but they are already going from strength to strength and their achievements deserve much praise.
“Their apprenticeship programmes include plant operators, general construction operatives and higher apprenticeships via a HNC and HND. These are fantastic opportunities for young people who perhaps are unable or do not wish to take the academic route.
“We were told that out of more than 500 employees, 200 have completed a Jones Bros apprenticeship, with another 75 currently progressing through their programme. Also many will work on the Denbigh Hospital redevelopment plans subject to planning consent.
“The scheme looks impressive and will inject a significant amount of money into the local economy.”
Established in the 1950s, Jones Bros’ leadership team consists of members of the second and third generations of the founding family. It employs more than 500 people.
The company is currently working on contracts in various sectors including highways, flood and marine defence, waste management and renewable energy around the UK.
The company runs an award-winning apprenticeship scheme, which has produced more than 40 per cent of its current workforce, with many skilled operatives, supervisors, managers and senior managers starting out as apprentices or in a trainee role.