One of the UK’s largest industrial equipment rental companies has joined a scheme designed to create new apprenticeships across Birmingham and Solihull.
Sunbelt Rentals, formerly known as A-Plant until a rebrand last year, is the latest business to become an employer partner of the Ladder for Greater Birmingham campaign.
The initiative was launched in partnership with BusinessLive publisher Reach Midlands in summer 2018 with the aim of creating more than a thousand new apprenticeships across the city region.
Sunbelt Rentals and the Ladder will now work together to find and place apprentices across the city region.
Sam Arnold is head of learning and development with the company which is headquartered in Warrington and employs 250 staff at around ten sites across the West Midlands.
She said: “We recruit apprentices based on our situation in any particular year and future skills gaps we’ve identified.
“For example, we have an ageing population of engineers working for our company so we take on apprentices to meet that need.
“We tend to recruit for six months of the year with vacancies going live in March to start in September but obviously last March we were hit with the first lockdown and so much uncertainty so we took the decision to postpone that recruitment.
“We started back up in November since when we’ve been hit by another lockdown but our hiring managers are now actively recruiting and offering positions.
“The pandemic hasn’t changed our plans or attitude towards hiring apprentices as we are still really committed to doing this and working with local communities to employ local people, particularly through apprenticeships.
“This is a great opportunity to team up with the Ladder to promote our apprenticeships in the West Midlands.”
Sunbelt Rentals specialises in hiring out plant, tools and equipment but also supplies portable office cabins and has recently worked with the NHS to support its mobile covid testing centres.
Ms Arnold said the company was a big supporter of the apprenticeship movement and regularly recruited them at its bases across the UK, especially in engineering to maintain equipment but also in fields such as customer services, accountancy and other support roles.
In 2019, it recruited 68 apprentices nationally, including four in the West Midlands, and currently has eight vacancies in the region it is looking to fill.
Ladder for Greater Birmingham was launched with the aim of creating 1,000 new apprenticeship roles in the region, a total it has since surpassed and is now on course to place another 500 employees.
It is run by community development group The Vine Trust and training provider Performance Through People with funding from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP and Birmingham and Solihull Training Provider Network.
Part of the ongoing campaign has been our annual Birmingham Apprenticeship Awards which were last held in November and celebrated individuals, employers and training providers across a broad range of categories.
Kevin Davis, chief executive of The Vine Trust and chairman of the Ladder, said: “I am very pleased to welcome Sunbelt Rentals to our campaign family.
“They, like the rest of our partners, recognise the importance in investing in new and existing employees.
“This is a clear message of National Apprenticeship Week to ‘Build for the future’ and I trust Sunbelt Rentals’ example will serve to inspire others to follow suit.”
Rob Colbourne, managing director of Performance Through People, added: “It is fantastic news that Sunbelt is supporting the Ladder for Greater Birmingham.
“They are a large employer which works with many sectors including construction, industrial, highways and energy alongside government departments, HS2 and the Commonwealth Games.
“Its chief executive is a former apprentice and it has an active apprenticeship programme in place which will be expanded with new apprenticeship vacancies supported by the Ladder.”
For more information about Ladder for Greater Birmingham and to get involved visit www.ladderforbirmingham.co.uk or call 03332 409 699