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D&F Associates, Widnes
Established in 1999, D&F Associates Ltd is a nationally approved laboratory specialising in the analysis of compost and recycled waste products. Operating from their Widnes based laboratories, D&F Associates carry out occupational and environmental assessments at customer sites throughout the UK.
Founded by Managing Director Sandra Davies, D&F Associates Ltd were looking to increase their services and customer base and recognised the need to add to their technical and administration teams to support their business development plans.
“I am passionate about maintaining the science knowledge base that is historic in our area and being able to develop new roles for local talent is one of the main drivers of our business” says Sandra, “staff who joined us at a young age have grown with us but as a small company we recognise the support that the apprenticeship scheme offers to both our business and the development of our staff”.
With this ethos in mind, D&F Associates approached Warrington & Co. to explore how its Linking the Locks project could help to add two new apprentices into key positions within the company – Laboratory Technician and Administration Assistant.
After initial discussions to agree on the job roles, Jonathan and Joanne from Warrington & Co. were able to source a suitable training provider, St Helens College, and managed the entire recruitment process for D&F Associates. The result was both roles being successfully filled with two new staff members starting in September 2015.
David Tattum, 25, from Hough Green was successful in securing the position of Apprentice Laboratory Technician and increases the number of technicians to 4. With a natural interest in science, David had previously worked in Lab and Quality Assurance roles in Liverpool.
On beginning his apprenticeship with D&F Associates, David says “this Apprenticeship has come at the right time for me; it provides me with the opportunity to build the skills and knowledge needed to obtain a formal qualification to complement my practical abilities.
The team at D&F Associates are very approachable and encourage me to get involved in all aspects of the business.
I feel that I’m making a significant contribution to the team”.
Danielle Welsh, 19, from Ditton also joined D&F Associates in September as Apprentice Administrative Assistant, supporting the Office Manager across all of the company’s key back-office functions including finance, HR and quality processes.
So what has been Danielle’s experience? “Since joining D&F Associates and starting my Apprenticeship I feel more confident within my capability. I feel accepted and find I now have more knowledge of the work place and really enjoy it”.
Sandra adds: “I’ve been really pleased with the entire process. We now have two wonderful apprentices – David and Danielle- who have quickly settled into their roles and it feels as though they have been with us forever! The courses organised and operated by St Helens College have also allowed us to look at our existing staff and one of our technicians has decided to follow the NVQ route to gain a formal qualification to complement his practical abilities”
True Fit Golf Ltd, Warrington
True Fit Golf Ltd is located next to Fiddler’s Ferry on the Warrington / Widnes border. Established in 1985, the company has continued to grow, boasting an 18 hole golf course, specialist superstore, 22 bay driving range, as well as providing PGA coaching.
As a result of their growth and expansion, True Fit Golf in conjunction with Warrington & Co. have recruited their first Groundskeeper Apprentice via the Linking the Locks scheme.
Elaine Overton, Company Secretary, says “When we were approached by Warrington & Co. regarding theLinking the Locks project, we immediately saw an opportunity to strengthen our current Facilities Maintenance Team by offering an opportunity for someone local to join our company as a Groundskeeper Apprentice. We are a family business and we were keen to take on someone to grow with us as our company continues to develop.
“We have never had an Apprentice before so it was something of an unknown territory for us. Warrington & Co. have been there every step of the way; they were able to source a suitable training provider, Myerscough College, and assisted with the entire recruitment process – even arranging and attending our interviews.
Our first Apprentice, Josh, is now in post and has quickly settled into the team.”
Joshua Rivers from Widnes applied for the position via Myerscough College. Having completed his GCSE’s in 2014, he was looking for an opportunity to kick-start his professional Greenskeeper career. On joining True Fit Golf in June, Joshua says “I’m really enjoying my role here. I prefer to learn whilst on the job so an Apprenticeship was ideal for me as I get hands-on experience. In the future I hope to eventually have my own professional Greenskeeper business.”
As a result of the financial support on offer, and the successful recruitment of Joshua, True Fit Golf are also strengthening their Retail function through the recruitment of a Retail Apprentice for their specialist Golf superstore.