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Sheffield insulation firm expanding in pandemic backs National Apprenticeship Week

A Sheffield-rooted insulation company rapidly expanding nationwide found the expertise on its doorstep when it decided to set up an apprenticeship scheme  to ‘future-proof ‘the business.

The Source Skills Academy is now providing apprentices across the UK for Galaxy Insulation and Dry Lining Limited, a market-leading, independently-owned supplier to the construction sector.

Turnover is now in excess of £66m for Galaxy, which was named in 2020’s Yorkshire Fastest 50 growth awards and employs 220.

The company has continued to expand during the pandemic, recently opening branches in Bedford and Newcastle.

It now has ten locations and plans to open two further branches in the South West this year.

Galaxy started making contributions to the government’s Apprenticeship Levy in 2020,  which presented an ideal opportunity for it to launch an apprenticeship programme.

The Levy exists for employers to fund new apprenticeships in England through the Digital Apprenticeship Service.

“When our annual wages bill hit £3m, we were required to pay into the Levy in the first quarter of 2020. Utilising our funds is a win on so many levels; we can increase staff and grow the business and very importantly, give young people a head-start in a very difficult climate,” said Richard Walker, Group Operations Director.

“Build The Future is the theme of this week’s National Apprenticeship Week. We couldn’t endorse that message strongly enough,” he added.

“Our apprenticeship scheme also helps us to future-proof the business. We want to ensure the skills of highly-experienced and long-serving employees are passed on. We are committed to ensuring apprentices benefit from their knowledge and grow careers with us.

“Our company ethos is: it doesn’t matter where you start; if you work hard you can achieve and climb the ladder.”

Galaxy insulation is based on the Meadowhall Business Park and realised there was a high-performing training and skills organisation on its doorstep.

It turned to The Source Academy, based on Meadowhall Way, to provide apprentices for its locations across the country.

To date, five apprentices are now in place, aged from 16 to 22 in apprenticeships ranging from customer service and warehousing to business administration.

The Source is currently recruiting further apprentices for the business and is also looking to provide fully-funded training and qualifications for current Galaxy staff.

Galaxy is also working with The Source to assist with recruiting unemployed young people for funded six-month work experience placements under the government’s new Kickstart scheme.

HR manager Jackie Cotton said: “Our apprentices have settled in really well. They are enthusiastic and eager to learn and we are very pleased to bring them into our business. We will support them through their learning and hopefully they will all have a long and rewarding careers and be proud to be part of the Galaxy family.”

Jack Robinson, 22, began work at Galaxy’s Sheffield HQ  in January on a Business Admin Level 3 Apprenticeship.

“I was working at a COVID-19 testing centre before I joined Galaxy and was worried the pandemic would stop me getting into a career. I thought many firms would not be recruiting,” said Jack.

“An apprenticeship is a great opportunity to get into a business, show what you can do and train for a qualification while you are working.

“Despite the pandemic, Galaxy has continued to open new branches and take on staff. I’m very pleased to be part of the team.”

Dale Robinson, head of business development at The Source, said: “Despite challenges caused by the pandemic, our employability and recruitment teams enabled job-seekers throughout the country to find roles at Galaxy, a Sheffield-based success story undergoing tremendous growth nationally

“In National Apprenticeship Week, we urge companies to remember that apprenticeship recruitment still plays an important part in business strategy and to contact The Source to work with a provider in the top tier nationally for its apprenticeship success rates.”

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