Edwin Jagger Limited
26th June 2013
Edwin Jagger Limited is a Sheffield based, family owned and run, manufacturer of finest men's wet shaving products.
The Company, founded by Neil Jagger, is globally recognised as a leader in design and manufacture of luxurious shaving razors, brushes and shaving sets. Also available from Edwin Jagger is a range of 99% natural Hydrating Pre-shave, Premium Shaving Cream, Traditional Shaving Soap and Moisturising Aftershave lotion. The men's grooming market has expanded significantly over the last 10 years and Edwin Jagger has responded by continually developing and launching new products to meet the needs of an increasingly discerning and diverse, niche market sector. With the growing demand for our products from customers all over the world comes the need for expansion in our workforce. Although there is much publicity about the level of unemployment and the number of individuals wishing to find secure work we have often found it difficult and very time consuming to identify and recruit enough of the right people. Many of our employees, both in administration and production, have been with us a long time. We like to recruit, train and retain our staff, continually investing in our employees' long term future. In the approach to Christmas 2012 we were once again in a position to expand the Company production team and started looking for one or two new recruits. As in the past we were repeatedly frustrated by a lack of suitable applicants generated by the usual methods of recruiting given that we hoped to find enthusiastic employees with some relevant warehousing or factory experience. As part of our search I decided to contact the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and was asked whether we had ever considered taking on apprentices. As we knew little about this option we were put in touch with ESG their motto is Skills for Working, Skills for Living. An Employer Engagement Officer came to visit us to introduce ESG and explain how modern apprenticeships work. The information supplied was very encouraging and, once we had agreed on the principals, the officer used ESG's database to find us potential candidates. Several candidates were introduced to Edwin Jagger and within a week we had conducted interviews and offered a position as warehouse assistant to a 17 year old female. The successful applicant had no work experience and limited qualifications, however at interview we concluded she had the development potential we were looking for. With the assistance of experienced team members Edwin Jagger implemented a dedicated training program designed to help the successful applicant to learn 'On the Job' and develop the skills we require. The new apprentice demonstrated many of the attributes we were looking for reliability, enthusiasm and attention to detail. There were of course times when we found our training was challenged by the lack of work experience but, assuming a duty of care, we found that by using a combination of structured learning, encouragement and praise she is developing into a valuable member of the Edwin Jagger production team. In January 2013 we required a further team member and once again would normally have opted to interview experienced candidates. However, we decided that, if we could identify another suitable apprentice, we would choose that route again. With the support of ESG and familiarity with the apprenticeship program, a second apprentice was soon appointed and we are once again pleased with our decision and the progress of our new team member. The employment of apprentices needs serious consideration and commitment. They are not just another pair of hands; they need, and deserve, to be trained and supervised to achieve both the employer's and their own goals. Apprentices must work a minimum of 30 hours each week and, if the Company training and development is successfully implemented they will be with an employer for one year. The apprentice is entitled to a contract of employment and the standard employee benefits but, as an employer, if an enthusiastic candidate is identified and has the desire to work and learn new skills there is the opportunity to integrate an apprentice into a workforce of skilled employees. A further benefit, especially for a small business, is that the minimum wage for an apprentice aged 16-24 is £2.65 per hour. An employer may elect to pay more, as we have done, but the low starting threshold allows for on-going apprentice incentivisation with pay reviews as progress is made during the twelve month training program. In addition employers can apply for an AGE Grant and if eligible they will qualify for a one off payment of £1500 which is an additional benefit of the Apprenticeship Programme. ESG provided a valuable service to Edwin Jagger by selecting and recommending candidates that were deemed suitable and well matched to the requirements of a specialist manufacturer. When they begin a placement each apprentice is assigned an ESG assessor who visits either fortnightly or monthly for an hour or two. During the initial and subsequent visits the apprentice is given the chance to discuss the placement and to complete agreed study units relevant to their particular qualification. The employer gives feedback to the assessor about the progress of the apprentice and any related issues. Working with ESG and participating in the apprenticeship scheme has been rewarding for everyone involved especially our apprentices. Responding to the challenges of a specialised production work environment and the chance to train and work as part of an established team has provided our apprentices with a genuine feeling of worth and brings out the best in them. We have particularly noticed significant improvements in communication and organisational skills, focus, precision and initiative. Apprentices need a chance to prove they can be trusted and relied on to make a commitment to an employer. We have tried it and been successful; why don't you give an apprentice a chance?