Apprentices have an important role to play in the future of mobility dealerships and can be far more beneficial to a company than poaching an experienced professional from a rival business.
That’s according to TPG DisableAids’ boss who has a policy to take on at least two apprentices every year to help ensure the longevity of the business.
Managing director of the Hereford-based family outfit, Alastair Gibbs, said that if staff are recruited from a rival firm then there is a chance they will come with a lot of unwelcome “baggage”.
“If you have homegrown through the apprentice route then they know everything that you’ve told them and they’re far more loyal, generally. If you treat people well they become far more valued employees.”
TPG DisableAids was recently recognised by the industry’s suppliers for instilling skills and professionalism in its staff. Gibbs revealed to AMP that he wants all of his employees to continue improving and ensures that everyone from the lowest grade up to managerial level is being armed with NVQs and qualifications such as Institute of Learning Management Level 5.
Like any mobility boss, Gibbs recognises he can’t be present for every sale or conversation and so needs to be confident that he has given staff sufficient knowledge and training to deal with difficult situations on their own.
Placing staff at the centre of the business, Gibbs seeks to involve employees at every level in decision-making. This means that TPG can still operate effectively if the bosses suddenly become unavailable.
Gibbs explained the reasoning: “I feel I have a responsibility for the team that if for any reason I wasn’t here from tomorrow they need to have the knowledge and expertise to be able to continue. Never allow any one person to be the only person that can do that role, it’s important that we share and appreciate what others do in the business, as well as having autonomy to do those things when called upon to do them.”
To involve its entire team TPG bosses hold weekly meetings with departmental managers and the dealer also has what it calls improvement development meetings which gives an opportunity for every member to contribute ideas.
“There are some very clever and intelligent people within our team — that’s why I employed them — and I shouldn’t subdue that knowledge and expertise,” concluded Gibbs.