As a business, I’m glad to report Holborn Projects is doing well, with plenty of work for our core skills of close-control air conditioning and our less well-known power upgrade work.

As with many aspects of engineering, we spend a lot of time scoping, specifying, pricing and planning work, before we arrive on site with our tools. To ensure we have the resources to deliver the efficient service we are renowned for, I looked at the possibility of bringing in more resources to help ease the pressure in the office.

And that’s when I ran into my first problem; or more accurately, my first dilemma. The easy option would be to employ an experienced engineer who would hit the ground running once they understood how we like to work and how our clients like us to work with them.

But I have children and one day I hope they will achieve gainful employment, not necessarily air condition engineering, just a valuable role that offers them the opportunity to grow and develop their careers.

I decided to pursue the latter option and investigate the possibility of helping a school leaver learn on the job and grow into our business. After a chat in the office and a little research on Google, we decided the ideal candidate would be someone studying Building Services Engineering, or something similar. Not necessarily at degree level, even ONC or HNC at a local college would be enough of a grounding in our subject to identify the ideal individual.

So, I contacted a renowned college in Birmingham to see if they had anyone studying Building Services Engineering that might be looking for a career opportunity or a stepping-stone like Holborn. We are happy to work around education timetables and part-time working, believing in the old adage, ‘employ the attitude, train the skill’.

We want someone with an understanding of the demands of our business and the sectors in which we operate and this approach would allow us to train someone to fulfil a niche role within our business like, contracts manager. Simple and straightforward so far.

Now imagine my frustration, when after calling and leaving a message on the answer machine of the senior lecturer working with these young people, I get no response; no return call, not even a thanks, but no thanks.

When I hear discussions of apprenticeships and the importance of employers building relationships with education, you can now understand my despair. I’m not even saying we would have found the ideal candidate, but surely we were worth a call to discover more about Holborn Projects and the opportunities we offer in engineering?

We’re not JLR I grant you. But like many thousands of smaller engineering companies across the Midlands we offer good prospects to those who want a career in engineering and I’m sure we employ more people between us than JLR ever will.

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