Apprentices Hold the Key to Sustainable Workforce

Published by Alison Gittins

Parsons Containers Limited is one of the UK’s leading shipping container businesses, and has been operating since 2000. The group comprises Parsons Containers, which sells standard and bespoke containers, self-storage business U Hold The Key and online brands ContainerContainer and ContainersNow, which sell containers nationwide.  Twenty-year-old Christopher Waller from Stockton has joined the business as site maintenance apprentice, working across the company’s U Hold The Key self-storage sites at nine North East locations.

Parsons recognises the value of apprentices in supporting the company’s growth, with Christopher’s appointment taking the number of trainees employed by the firm up to three. In the past four months, Morgan Rouse and Phoebe Coates have also begun apprenticeships with Parsons, both working at the company’s Sedgefield headquarters.

Parsons Containers has a long tradition of using apprenticeships to recruit and train staff, that goes back 14 years. Container sales manager Stephen Collins and operations manager Dean Tempest both joined the company as apprentices, in 2003 and 2007 respectively.

Ean Parsons, managing director of Parsons Containers, says that apprenticeships can offer significant benefits to businesses. He comments: “As well as providing a platform to bring young people into the workforce and giving them the chance to secure permanent employment, apprenticeships can provide many opportunities for businesses.  We’ve found that having a workforce made up of a range of ages and experience gives us lots of different perspectives; for example, our younger team members’ input into marketing plans and the use of platforms like social media have been really insightful.  The apprenticeship programme enables us to train young people with the skills that are most important to us, and which will also benefit them throughout their careers.”

At the other end of the age spectrum, Parsons Containers recently announced the retirement of 80-year-old site manager Peter Robson who has been replaced by 64-year-old successor Arthur Jennings. The apprentice appointments come at a time of significant expansion for Parsons Containers’ U Hold The Key operation which has opened three new sites at Sunderland, Darlington and Mainsforth, near Ferryhill, in the last six months alone. The new sites give the company a capacity of 1,500 stores, up from around 1,000.

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