We take our responsibilities as an employer seriously. We aim to provide a positive work environment for all our staff, whether they work in factories, warehouses, depots or offices. Our culture emphasises the importance of individual accountability, which means the personal responsibility of each of us towards those we work with every day. We are proud of this culture, which encourages openness and transparency within the business and has been vital to its growth and development since 1995. This culture is reinforced by our commitment to certain core principles:
- Recognising by reward the hard work of all employees;
- investing in training and development across the business; and
- ensuring that recruitment, career success and progression are solely determined by an employee's abilities and achievements.
For further information on working with Howdens, click here.
Supporting Learning and Development in the Community
Howden Joinery's heritage and culture means we place a high value on the whole range of skills - technical, commercial and interpersonal - that are practised by local tradespeople. We are keen to promote the use of these skills in the workplace and interest in them in the wider community.
Developing apprenticeships in-house
During 2012, we continued our partnership with The Real Apprenticeship Company to further promote the use of apprenticeships within the workplace. The Group currently employs 10 modern apprentices in our Supply division and 170 within the depot network, with a further 50 apprentices currently being recruited. During 2012, the business saw 115 apprentices gain their apprenticeship qualification.
Pioneering bursary scheme for apprentice joiners
As well as helping promote the value of apprenticeships in-house, we also continue to help the next generation of builders and joiners by supporting apprentices in the wider community. In partnership with CITB-ConstructionSkills (the Sector Skills Council and Industry Training Board for the construction industry), we continue to offer the Howden Joinery Bursary for new apprentice joiners. The scheme was the first of its kind in the country, its aim being to fund first year wages for apprentice joiners in companies which would otherwise feel unable to afford to fund an apprentice. Other than stipulating that the money be used specifically to fund apprentice joiners, Howdens has no involvement in choosing either the apprentices or the companies involved.
Having funded 20 places over the first two years of the scheme, in September 2012 we agreed to extend the funding to accommodate a further 20 places, creating opportunities for 20 more young people across the country. We are pleased with the feedback from the scheme to date not only from the newly qualified joiners themselves but also from the companies who now see the value of apprentices and are committed to employing more of them in the future, this time without the help of a bursary.
Partnerships with Further Education colleges
In addition to running the bursary scheme, we also support trainee builders and joiners in their local community as they go through their courses and develop their skills. To do this, we continue to encourage our depots to build on their relationships with construction departments in local colleges of Further Education. As well as donating discontinued products on which students can practise, depots also sponsor end of year awards and prizes. Just over three years ago we started a separate programme of support for colleges that offer NVQ/Diploma courses that include a module on kitchen installation. We provide each college with a supply of equipment tailored to their individual requirements for both practice and examinations. When requirements are finalised for our latest recruit to this project, we will have fulfilled our initial objective of recruiting one college in each of our eight regions across the country.