Aberdeen's Thistle Windows and Conservatories is making the most of its Network VEKA membership, with January seeing 26 of the company's employees presented with professional qualifications gained via the installer support organisation's pioneering Academy programme.
Launched less than a year ago, the Network VEKA Academy is a collaboration with The Vocational College, offering both practical work experience and recognised fenestration industry qualifications. The diversity of courses on offer includes everything from 5-6 month introductory traineeships for 16-24 year olds, to 18 month Advanced Apprenticeships, offering experienced workers a practicable route to valuable Level 3 NVQ / SVQ qualifications.
Thistle's Managing Director, Ian Bruce explains: “As a business, we firmly believe in ongoing career support and development for our staff, and the Network VEKA Academy offers a way for this to take place without unduly disrupting an individual's work, or that of the company as a whole.
“26 of our surveyors and installation team members were assessed over a number of months, with the final certificates being awarded by the Glass Qualifications Authority (GQA) – a trusted and specialist organisation in our industry.”
As with so many Network VEKA member provisions, the Academy holds benefits for all parties involved. Individual workers stand to gain qualifications with the potential to further their careers and progress to more authoritative roles. Member companies – whose position as part of Network VEKA relies on continuously demonstrating superior performance and customer satisfaction – can ensure their employees learn from the best, while encouraging retention of the very best staff.
“Besides bolstering the skill set that exists within Thistle”, Ian continues, “the Network VEKA Academy also contributes to the sense of teamwork and morale within our company. Staff realise how much we value them and the advancement of their careers and, in return, we can rely on a proud and loyal workforce, driven to uphold our reputation and good name.”
Network VEKA's Managing Director, John Ogilvie commented: “It's great to see companies such as Thistle capitalising on the Network VEKA Academy. It's a really versatile provision for our members, and one that addresses the skills shortage affecting the building and construction industries.
“Companies can advertise for trainees, free of charge, with organisations such as the National Apprentice Service (NAS) and, depending on the course, the employer is only liable to pay for travel and Personal Protection Equipment costs. It's not just industry-specific disciplines that are covered – Maths, English, interview techniques and other transferable skills are included, helping to nurture truly rounded employees, and the best possible ambassadors for member companies and the Network overall.
“Thistle is a shining example of what we hoped to achieve with the Network VEKA Academy – a company that this year earned our annual regional award as joint best installer in Scotland for an unprecedented 14th time, proactively working to maintain its status, both within the Network and with its customers. We hope Thistle's success will continue to spur the ever-increasing numbers joining the Academy – another Network VEKA venture poised for great returns in the future!”