Cllr Nick Forbes, the Leader of Newcastle City Council, recently visited JT Dove’s Head Office and main branch in Newburn, Newcastle to meet with eight graduates of the merchant’s trainee scheme and present awards to two long service employees.
During the visit, which was facilitated by the Builders Merchant Federation (BMF), Cllr Forbes met with MD Steve Robinson and they discussed the importance of investment in staff from apprentices to long serving and the value of SME builders & allied trades in creating and retaining local jobs and growth.
Steve said: “Cllr Forbes and the JT Dove management examined the role, value and importance of the supply chain to North-East England’s economy, where further investment is needed in vocational training & skills including apprentices. As a company we put our heart into this and it is how today we could have eight apprenticeship graduates ready to meet our guest.”
The 19 to 25 year olds have trained hard for the last two years on an intensive training course, that saw the then new appointees doing group training, personal projects, experience days, visits to manufacturers and a team building event. On a day-to-day basis each of the trainees operated in their own branch under the watchful eye of their branch manager.
The applicants had to have a minimum education standard of 5 GCSEs, but personality and understanding of the Dove ethos was more important as JT Dove ‘grow their own’ and therefore have a high number of personnel who have enjoyed many years of long service.
Amongst those are Val Walton who has been with the company for 40 years, and Margaret Ornsby who has been part of the team for 45 years. Both Val and Margaret were delighted to receive their awards from Cllr Forbes.
Cllr Forbes said: “I am committed to ensuring that Newcastle is working city where there are good quality jobs for everyone. Construction is going to be an important part of our economic development – particularly as we work with developers to build more houses, modernise existing homes and invest in the roads and infrastructure. I am keen to learn from a key supplier to the trade how future prospects look to them. And I want to learn more about how companies like JT Dove are investing in young apprentices to make sure they are equipped with the skills they need for the future.”
JT Dove was founded in 1869 and now employs 206 staff in 15 branches across the North East, Cumbria and Scottish Borders. In the 1950s, the Dove family put the company into a trust (similar to John Lewis) in which staff receive a share of any profits.