CMS Window Systems has welcomed a dozen new recruits to its apprenticeship programme as the company aims to bridge the industry skills shortage.
The Cumbernauld-headquartered firm, which manufactures and installs windows, doors and curtain walling, will deliver training to 12 apprentices via the CMS Academy.
Apprentices will be trained through a combination of experience onsite, at the CMS “innovation hub” on its Cumbernauld campus, Glasgow, and in the firm’s window and door factories.
CMS described the programme as “the most comprehensive scheme of its kind” in the door and window industry, which is designed to help overcome the skill shortage which has affected the sector since the financial crisis in 2008, and provide local jobs.
The 57-week course provides training and experience in window fabrication and installation, while mentors “talent spot” to select one or two individuals to join a further 18-month development programme upon completion.
CMS has already provided more than 100 apprenticeships over 12 years, many of which have resulted in permanent roles as part of the 270-strong workforce at its Cumbernauld and Kirkcaldy factories and recycling centres.
The company said apprenticeships have been at the core of its “sustainability strategy” based on social, economic and environmental targets to benefit the local communities in which it operates.
Chief executive David Ritchie said: “The programme is central to the future success of our business.
“The 2008 recession left our sector depleted of skilled workers, and with Brexit just around the corner, there is no guarantee that the European workforce which proved so valuable in filling the gap will be accessible going forwards.
“We also have to address the issue of an ageing workforce. The average age of a tradesman in the UK is now 57, so we need to do our bit to ensure the next generation of skilled workers is coming through and ready to step in once the current skilled workforce retires.
“Integrating an apprenticeship programme into our long-term strategy is a win-win for us and the economy more broadly.
“The Scottish Government aims to cut youth unemployment by 40 per cent by 2021, but we still have 9.3 per cent of young people aged between 16 and 24 counted as unemployed and seeking work, in the year to March 2018.
“This programme means we can provide opportunities to bring this figure down and nurture the great talent that is clearly there on our doorstep.”
Emma Phillips, head of human resources, added: “The aim of the CMS Apprenticeship Programme is to develop ‘homegrown’ talent by providing young people with training and experience across a range of different areas within CMS.
“This will enable them to develop their technical and personal skills for a long and successful career with the company, the routes for which are clearly defined.”
In April CMS, which has been backed by private equity investor LDC since 2016, landed a £10 million contract to design, make and install the glazing on Glasgow’s £100m Atlantic Square development.