MD Matt Pitt Talks About the Kaboodle Apprenticeship Scheme Six Months on Since the Launch

It’s been six months since we launched our industry-first White Goods Installer Apprenticeship Programme here at Kaboodle.

So, we thought we’d take a minute to talk to Kaboodle MD Matthew Pitt about how it all started and how it is going so far.

So, it’s been six months since we launched the apprenticeship scheme at Kaboodle. How did it all start?

Matt: We have always had a strong in-house training program within the business. However, we felt it was important to offer our people a more formal structure, with recognised qualifications, to endorse the practical experience they gain on the job.

And, half a year down the line, is it going as you expected?

Matt: Better. We have been blown away by the enthusiasm and effort our apprentices have put into their learning and development. Being honest, we probably lowered our expectations when it came to what an ‘apprentice’ would bring to the business. However, I am very thrilled to say our apprentices have settled in brilliantly and are real assets to the wider team.

I understand you launched the scheme, with Government backing, to tackle the lack of industry apprentices. Tell me about that.

Matt: The specific challenge we face in the ‘white goods installation’ space is the fact that there is no such thing as a ‘white goods installer’ apprenticeship, despite the fact that demand for a premium home appliance installation service is at an all-time high in the UK.

The job requires elements of electrical, plumbing and carpentry competencies, yet would not cover the required modules to complete a more traditional Electrician, Plumber, or Carpenter apprenticeship.

So, not taking ‘no’ for an answer, we decided to work with our local college and design our own apprenticeship, focusing on white goods installation and the ‘multi-trade’ nature of what we do.

The objective was to create a scheme that, not only equips young people with the skills to make a great living from white goods installation, but to provide a broad range of trade competencies that would open doors in any number of construction-based career paths.

And why did you feel it was important to Kaboodle as a company to offer apprenticeships?

Matt: It’s well documented that the UK is facing a significant skills shortage when it comes to the KBB sector. At a recent conference held by the British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI), a survey revealed that over 50% of all KBB installers are set to retire within the next 5 years. This is a sobering statistic for anybody planning long term sustainable business growth!

As an industry, we all must take responsibility for nurturing our installers of the future. Kaboodle take great pride in leading the charge, to produce some of the UK’s finest appliance installers, across new build construction, and domestic home installation sectors.

Have you had much feedback from the apprentices on the scheme?

Matt: We have had some super feedback throughout the program so far. Our apprentices have weekly catch-ups with their training mentor, and monthly 1-1’s with one of our HR representatives.

As the inaugural cohort to the Kaboodle apprenticeship scheme, this feedback has proven to be invaluable in helping us shape the program and deliver a scheme that benefits all parties. We don’t always get it right, and lessons have been learned along the way. By being ready to listen and open to new ideas, we have continued to refine the apprenticeship from the feedback provided.

What is the next step for the apprentices once they’ve completed their training?

Matt: That’s entirely up to them! As with all employees, we hope to provide an environment and culture that people love to be a part of and can see themselves thriving in for many years to come. Our apprentice installers will all have the opportunity to join the installation team and take advantage of our fantastic ‘paygo’ scheme that offers the highest earning potential in the industry.

Kaboodle are a premium service provider working with the top appliance brands in the UK. We set very high standards when it comes to our installation service, and we are happy to offer top rates of pay for the quality of work our valued installers produce.

Do you plan to employee more apprentices going forward?

Matt: We certainly do! After the successful launch in Stevenage, we now plan to roll out the scheme with colleges local to our other depots in Leeds, Telford and Bristol. We have also opened up office-based apprenticeships. So far we have welcomed two new business administration apprentices and have openings for apprentices in project management and marketing.

Finally, anything else you want to say about the apprentice scheme at Kaboodle?

Matt: The Kaboodle apprenticeship is something I am immensely proud of. As someone who’s own career started out with an apprenticeship, I genuinely see the value, and have experienced first-hand just how far this practical route can take you!

With a promised £60M of new government investment this year, plus a series of reforms planned to provide fully funded training for young people and cutting red tape for small businesses, now is the ideal time to explore how apprenticeships can work for your business and help to secure the future of your workforce.