Employer Focus: Coyle

Coyle is one of the UK’s top privately-owned recruitment agencies, specialising in a number of sectors including construction, rail, healthcare, technology and education. As a large, national company, Coyle automatically contributes to the Apprenticeship Levy – a Government initiative to fund apprenticeships. Instead of wasting this fund, Coyle passed the levy onto one of its contractors, Balfour Beatty, to train up and mentor the apprentices that Coyle sourced for them and employs. We caught up with Nick Markwell, Manager at Coyle, who was instrumental in starting this process to find out more.

“We knew we would not use the levy within Coyle so wanted to pass the opportunity to train up the next generation to our contractors. Balfour Beatty was keen to train apprentices in groundworks to work on our national railways, so it was a beneficial partnership. Our apprentices at Balfour work on rail projects up to Birmingham, including monitoring the tracks at Dawlish Warren. To our knowledge, we are the first in the UK recruitment industry to pass our levy onto a contractor, so it is a pioneering programme. It is difficult for contractors to sometimes commit to apprenticeships as if their work dries up, they can’t afford to pay the apprentices.

“We chose to work with Skills Group for our apprenticeship training, as we visited the premises and thought that the groundworks facilities were fantastic, with a dedicated outside training area. The team was able to deliver off-the-shelf training bespoke to our apprentices’ needs and the work that they carry out; it was exactly what we were looking for.

“Investing in apprenticeships is extremely important, as they give youngsters and career-changers the chance to enter an industry, receive expert training, and progress into a lifelong career. We are committed to our apprentices’ development so we put them on additional courses – for example, to erect scaffolding or to use certain types of tools safely – to further increase their expertise. This means that they develop the skill sets to move into other construction and groundworks areas, making room for more apprentices to enter the ranks.

“We would ideally like to have 5 or 6 more apprentices by the end of the year”.

I always struggled in school as I wasn’t very academic, so knew learning on the job would be a better option for me. I would find it difficult to get up for 9am but now I wake up and look forward to my day. I wanted to try a hair apprenticeship as I’ve always been interested in hairdressing, and by the end of the first week, I already loved it!

Jaimee Benson, Level 2 Hairdressing

I have developed a range of new skills through work including the technical, industry skills required for the job, to personal development such as ensuring I am always on time. The biggest change since leaving school is adjusting to the independence you gain from earning a salary. My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be find what you like doing, and go for it!

Will Birch, Level 2 Bricklaying

Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become far more confident. In a classroom, you only interact with your classmates, but through working you develop your people skills as you interact with customers on a daily basis. At school, you are closely monitored and parented, however I am now more independent and feel grown up

Sam Collard, Level 2 Light Vehicle and Maintenance Repair

The most important thing I’ve learnt since leaving school is that there are other routes to success than just academia. I failed my GCSEs, as I never suited the school environment. Now though, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I’ve discovered I learn more through hands-on practice.

Ben Freeman, Level 2 Carpentry

I would just like to thank you and your team for all the amazing work they do, you have provided me with the most invaluable experience which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work you do for young people is incredible!

Luke Kowalski, Teaching Assistant and former apprentice at Sir Robert Gefferys School