Pimlico Plumbers is piloting a new COVID-19 testing programme at its headquarters in central London, which will begin with its latest intake of new apprentices.
Any visitors, such as the new recruits and interviewees, must produce a negative test before they are allowed to enter the building, as part of the company’s ongoing development of its coronavirus safety and hygiene measures.
It means the UK’s largest independent home services company is not only upholding its commitment to customer safety, but also to the development of apprentices, despite the pandemic and current lockdown, with the recruitment of a further four trainees.
While around 60 percent of UK employers are halting apprenticeship recruitment, which has led to the number of apprenticeship starts being halved due to the pandemic, Pimlico has expanded its cohort of trainees to 75.
Previous national lockdowns restricted apprentice training, the current restrictions allow training providers and employers to continue to deliver their schemes.
For Pimlico to continue operating successfully during the pandemic it has had to adapt quickly. And COVID testing new trainees and employees is the latest weapon in its armoury.
Charlie Mullins OBE, founder and chairman of Pimlico Plumbers, said: “Other companies have dropped apprenticeships altogether in the face of the pandemic, we’ve pushed on with our training programmes because apprentices are essential to the business and dear to my heart, because that’s how I got my start.
“We’ve had to adapt how we work over the past year, and the training of apprentices is no different.
“COVID testing new recruits at the door will give our customers even more confidence that they can rely on Pimlico for safe, Covid-free service. It’s a no brainer. I can see other companies adopting this as standard, and even restaurants, cinemas and nightclubs insisting on a negative test before they allow people in, once the restrictions start to be lifted.”
Alongside online e-learning activities, the four new apprentices will be gaining practical skills and expertise working alongside Pimlico’s highly experienced engineers under the company’s stringent COVID-secure safety measures.
In addition to receiving a Coronavirus lateral flow test prior to starting their training, the apprentices will be subject to daily temperature checking, the same as Pimlico’s tradespeople and head office staff.
They will also follow the strict guidelines Pimlico has in place, which has already enabled the company to safely complete more than 100,000 jobs in homes and business premises across London since the start of the pandemic.
Pimlico provides its engineers and field-based apprentices with full PPE for each individual job and its fleet of vans are all fitted with basins for regular handwashing.
The new apprentices are training across a range of home services disciplines. Nicholas Green, 18, from Ilford, George Heelas, 19, from Dagenham and Red Langdon, 18 from Sevenoaks have all started as plumbing apprentices this week. Jack Lucas, 21, from Surbiton has also started an electrical apprenticeship.
Charlie said, “Sadly, the next generation will be the ones to suffer most from the effects of pandemic.
“Even before coronavirus, apprenticeship levels were dangerously low, creating a problem that will really come home to roost in the coming years. There is already a massive skills shortage and it’s going to get worse. We don’t want to let it affect our business, which is why we are pushing on with our plans.
“We had more than 600 applications for our latest apprenticeship vacancies. It shows there are young people desperate for a chance to join the country’s economic recovery. Employers need ramp up their apprenticeship activity and take advantage of the high-quality trainees that are out there; it’s common sense to me.
“Our new recruits are great examples of the talented young people that are keen to build their careers through apprenticeships and I wish them all the best on the start of their journey with Pimlico.”