Welsh Government Deputy Minister Julie James has heard about the wealth of opportunities available to young people after meeting the latest group of apprentices at civil engineering company Jones Bros.
During her visit to the Ruthin-based company, the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology received an overview of Jones Bros’ vocational training scheme and learned of its commitment to apprenticeships.
She chatted to trainees on the firm’s recently launched general construction operations apprenticeship scheme and heard about its plans for further investment in training over the next five years.
Jones Bros currently has 27 young people training on its plant operative and general constructions operations schemes.
The latest apprentices will bolster the number of workers at Jones Bros trained in road infrastructure skills such as drainage, kerbing and manhole construction.
Honing their skills at the firm’s upgraded in-house training centre, the apprentices will go on to work on various projects across the UK. The seven apprentices who met the minister have been earmarked to work on the Caernarfon to Bontnewydd Bypass Project, being undertaken by Jones Bros in a 50:50 joint venture partnership with Balfour Beatty.
During her visit the Deputy Minister was also given a demonstration in operating machinery via a heavy plant simulator.
Julie James said: “I was delighted to visit Jones Bros and would like to thank all of the apprentices and staff that I met.
“I was pleased to hear about Jones Bros’ commitment to providing valuable work-based learning opportunities to local people which, in turn, will help supply Wales with a capable, prepared and balanced labour force.
“We are absolutely committed to vocational learning which is why we recently announced an additional £5m for apprenticeships. This will ensure more people are able to access the many benefits that apprenticeships offer to learners, employers and the economy of Wales.”
Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK has recruited a significant number of young people over several decades, including during the recent economic downturn. Its commitment to apprentices has lead to a skilled and committed workforce well qualified to work on major projects across the UK.
A number of Jones Bros trainees have worked their way up the company over a number of years to senior roles on high-profile projects including highways, coastal, renewables and waste remediation schemes.
Huw Jones, chairman and owner of Jones Bros, said: “We’re extremely proud of our apprenticeship scheme and it was terrific to welcome the Deputy Minister to showcase the work we are doing to provide training opportunities for young people.
“Our belief in the importance of training the next generation of construction workers and engineers has paid dividends for our company as well as having a positive effect on communities in North Wales.
“We’re well placed to carry out large schemes across the UK because, unlike some other companies, we continued to recruit and invest in our trainees during the recession.
“Many of our employees have been with the company for a considerable number of years, frequently working alongside their own family members.”
Founded in the 1950s and employing 350 people, Jones Bros has grown significantly in the last decade. It is currently working on contracts including the construction of waste management facilities, highways, flood and marine defence and renewable energy projects around the UK.