MKM plugs industry skills gap with apprentice program

MKM is using this year’s National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) to highlight how important apprenticeships are to combatting the construction industry’s widening skills gap.

One area in which the merchant has identified a skills gap is in kitchen and bathroom design. That’s why MKM has invested in its Showroom Design and Sales Level Three programme, which combines customer service and sales skills with practical know-how on designing kitchens and bathrooms.

One thing that makes MKM’s apprenticeship offering stand-out from competitors is that the business does not give a standard apprenticeship wage. Instead, all MKM apprentices have the same contract as any other employee across the business, and are paid a competitive wage. What’s more, the apprenticeship positions at MKM are supported by various training providers as well as in-house teams ensuring both business and vocational training is available in all roles across every area of the business.

The program started 18 months ago with just three participants, and now boasts over 70 apprentices across central support and its nationwide branch network. The company’s ambition is to grow the offering further still, with the goal being to reach at least 125 colleagues in apprenticeships at any one time, equating to some 5% of MKM’s employees.

Kerry Hunt, Learning and Development Business Partner at MKM, says, “Like all of our apprenticeships, Showroom Design and Sales Level Three is designed to help the business in a key area and help plug the skills gap that is impacting the whole construction sector. We offer programmes from levels two to seven, across all business areas, from yard and sales roles through to finance, business management and more.

“At MKM’s core is a commitment to looking after its employees and customers. By investing in apprenticeships and promoting ongoing training opportunities for our existing employees, we ensure our staff are given the best opportunities to advance and develop their careers, and are staying true to our promise to deliver top quality service to our customers.”

MKM is shining a spotlight on its apprentices on social media over National Apprenticeship Week, highlighting the diversity of its offering and the difference the company is making to people pursuing a career in such a rewarding sector.

Rennah Banks, Customer Service Apprentice, says, “After I left school, I was a bit clueless as to my next steps. I started working as a waitress and as time went on, I realised that wasn’t what I wanted to do.

“I didn’t want to go to university either, so started thinking that maybe the route to go down is an apprenticeship.

“I didn’t even know that you got paid at an apprenticeship.

“Thanks to working here and getting a proper wage I’ve been able to set myself up for the future – and it’s helped my confidence a lot.”

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