Employer Focus: Coyle
Coyle is one of the UK’s top privately-owned recruitment agencies, specialising in a number of sectors including construction, rail, healthcare, technology and education. As a large, national company, Coyle automatically contributes to the Apprenticeship Levy – a Government initiative to fund apprenticeships. Instead of wasting this fund, Coyle passed the levy onto one of its contractors, Balfour Beatty, to train up and mentor the apprentices that Coyle sourced for them and employs. We caught up with Nick Markwell, Manager at Coyle, who was instrumental in starting this process to find out more.
“We knew we would not use the levy within Coyle so wanted to pass the opportunity to train up the next generation to our contractors. Balfour Beatty was keen to train apprentices in groundworks to work on our national railways, so it was a beneficial partnership. Our apprentices at Balfour work on rail projects up to Birmingham, including monitoring the tracks at Dawlish Warren. To our knowledge, we are the first in the UK recruitment industry to pass our levy onto a contractor, so it is a pioneering programme. It is difficult for contractors to sometimes commit to apprenticeships as if their work dries up, they can’t afford to pay the apprentices.
“We chose to work with Skills Group for our apprenticeship training, as we visited the premises and thought that the groundworks facilities were fantastic, with a dedicated outside training area. The team was able to deliver off-the-shelf training bespoke to our apprentices’ needs and the work that they carry out; it was exactly what we were looking for.
“Investing in apprenticeships is extremely important, as they give youngsters and career-changers the chance to enter an industry, receive expert training, and progress into a lifelong career. We are committed to our apprentices’ development so we put them on additional courses – for example, to erect scaffolding or to use certain types of tools safely – to further increase their expertise. This means that they develop the skill sets to move into other construction and groundworks areas, making room for more apprentices to enter the ranks.
“We would ideally like to have 5 or 6 more apprentices by the end of the year”.
Ashley Curtis is currently completing his Level 2 Groundworks apprenticeship at Coyle, working with Balfour Beatty. He says: “The opportunity to work for Coyles is amazing as it is a large, national company which provides recruitment services to a number of sectors, so offers lots of room for progression.
“Lots of my job involves travel as I work on projects in locations anywhere up to Birmingham. The work is varied: I work on railways, so tasks can include putting signs up, banks management, tunnel maintenance, cutting back bushes and clearing tracks, and taking down bridges. We’ve also been involved in maintaining the track at Dawlish Warren to ensure it doesn’t collapse again!
“My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be to be enthusiastic, patient and get your coursework done!”