Back in 1966, England won the world cup, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were battling it out in the charts and we welcomed our first ever apprentices into our business – the start of the Kohler Mira Apprentice Scheme.
As part of our Apprentice Focus Month, we’re taking a look back at those early days and at how far the scheme has come in the last 50 years. And we’ve caught up with some of our past apprentices who still work within the business to get their take on what it's like to be an apprentice at Kohler Mira.
So, back in 1966 a new apprentice would most likely have started off in engineering – like Tony Richardson who recently retired after a 45 year career with us. He joined in 1972 and told us, “I started aged 17 earning £15.38. My apprentice ‘birthday’ a year later saw that rise to a grand total of £15.85! You’ll be glad to hear that wages are somewhat better in 2018 – you can expect to start on £11,000 - £14,000 a year depending on the type of apprenticeship.
And you can expect to spend time in a variety of departments learning which area interests you most. With our new Business Apprenticeships, you will spend time in Marketing, Supply Chain, Finance and Customer Services, getting a real insight into these areas and the important part they play in business success.
Learning and Talent Development Manager – Anna Hollis says, “From my perspective, apprentices are vital to our business. Through their placements, they quickly gain a good understanding of Kohler Mira and transferable skills that can be used across the business. We ask them to get involved in real projects – business challenges which really benefit from a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective. Our apprentices bring energy, a great attitude, curiosity and creativity. They are persistent, they don’t give up and are fantastic ambassadors for our business!"
NPD Project Engineer Toby Risbey, joined us back in 2003.
“My apprenticeship gave me the basics - a great grounding for the role I am in today, and also helped me to see where I wanted my career to head in the future. The secondments to various departments allowed me to pick up a wide knowledge of how the business functions, so when I am sat doing my job today I can make informed decisions on how to achieve something based on that understanding that I have.”
“For me the best things about working for Kohler Mira are the people. Being part of Kohler Mira isn’t just a job - it’s being part of a family. We work together and have a great friendly atmosphere, which helps motivate people and helps people achieve. It’s a truly innovative and inspiring place to work!”
Currently, three of the directors on our Executive team started their journey as apprentices. Wayne Walker – Vice President of Global Faucets for the UK, EMEA and India joined as an apprentice in 1987. He told us, “The key opportunity of an apprenticeship for me was the continuation of education while obtaining professional, on the job training and business experience. Immediately after the apprenticeship I was able to return to full time education and maintain links to industry having gained significant technical skills and confidence.
I’ve just celebrated my 30th year anniversary with Kohler Mira. I’ve stayed and progressed in our business because we are passionate about developing our people and the apprentice scheme is a great example of that. So many of us ex-apprentices are still here. We are part of a globally successful business and the opportunities increase every year for talented individuals”.