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Forterra continue to invest in new talent


Company welcomes four new engineering apprentices and three operational and commercial graduates

LAST year Forterra took on four new apprentices and three graduates as part of their commitment to developing new and existing talent. The company operates several schemes that provide multiple opportunities for those seeking a career in manufacturing – from sales to mechatronics – and helps participants learn and develop skills in a practical way, awarding them with a qualification.

The 2022 intake joins a total of 14 apprentices and graduates who have completed the programmes and now hold a full-time position with Forterra.


The four Mechatronics NVQ Level 3 apprentices have now started their journey. Jaydn Hall (16) is based at the company’s Accrington plant, in Lancashire; Oliver Ayling (17) at Red Bank in Measham, Leicestershire; Owen Freeman (16) at Wilnecote, in Staffordshire; and Ethan Ross (16) at Somercotes, in Derbyshire.

Jaydn Hall said: ‘This apprenticeship was recommended to me by my dad who also works for Forterra. I thought it would be a good career for me. I am really enjoying the apprenticeship so far and looking forward to my career progressing even further with Forterra in the future.’

Owen Freeman said: ‘I feel like I’ve always wanted to go into engineering. I knew this would be a good career path. I felt like an apprenticeship would be a better option for me, rather than college, as you get real on-the-job experience as well as getting paid. You are also pretty much guaranteed a job at the end of it, unlike if I did a college course. It has been really good so far. I’m having a great time and the people here are great too.’

Oli Ayling said: ‘We have been treated well by both Forterra and the training provider. The apprenticeship is really well catered for and the support we have had living away (residential) has been great. I have learnt a lot in my first three months and love the time I spend on site too. I find the sites fascinating. Everyone is so welcoming – I thought I might get a little picked on being such a young apprentice in the workplace, but everyone has treated me like any other member of the team.’

Ethan Ross said: ‘I’m really looking forward to doing more work on site and learning the role more. I am excited about becoming qualified and feel this is a good start to my career as an engineer. Forterra have been excellent, and I have been treated really well by everyone.’

The new graduate cohort comprises Randolf Olarte (25), who joins the Operations team at Measham, as well as Hannah Yell (23) and Milly Pratt (21), who join the Commercial team at Whittlesey, near Peterborough, and continue to mark the important inclusion of women into a mainly male dominated industry, making up two of the first four female graduates to pass through Forterra’s graduate scheme. Nia Lewis was the first female graduate to secure a permanent role at the Desford plant in 2022, having started her journey with Forterra in 2019.

Randolf Olarte said: ‘The Graduate Rotational Excellence Programme (GREP) programme is a massive steppingstone that will launch my career within Forterra and the manufacturing industry. I’m looking forward to developing my knowledge of the products as well as the raw materials and the processes that make them. I’m also looking forward to the guided personal and professional development that the programme offers so that I become a more rounded individual.’

Milly Pratt said: ‘After a great first three months with Forterra I’m very excited to see what the rest of my graduate programme entails. I look forward to meeting more Forterra colleagues and expanding my network in my next rotations.’

Hannah Yell said: ‘I’m most looking forward to the exposure to various functions within the business and piecing all these experiences together in my future commercial career. That’s the great thing about Forterra’s GREP programme, graduates are provided with access to a wealth of development opportunities and support along the journey.’

The apprenticeship scheme runs for four years and sees participants get a fully rounded induction to the industry with site visits, on-the-job learning and mentorship. In the first year the apprentices embark on a residential with Make UK, based in Birmingham, with a focus on attending college whilst also providing days working on a site. In the second year the apprentices are placed at the site local to their home and where they will eventually receive a full-time position after successful completion of the apprenticeship programme.

The graduate scheme offers a two-year programme into fast-tracked management roles and sees graduates get in-depth training that follows a rotational programme of six-month placements. The first month sees a full induction to the company with tours of every site and even a day with an HGV driver.

Michelle Francis, head of talent management for Forterra, said: ‘We are excited to welcome our new apprentices and graduates and we can’t wait to support them on the next leg of their journey. We are extremely proud of these programmes and with approximately 3.6% of our workforce already in on-the-job training, we’re well on the way to meeting, and likely beating, the 5% target as part of the 5% Club.

‘We believe in continuous learning and invest in our employees at any age. Without a doubt, it’s good for our business and good for our employees.’


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