Insulation firm future proofs itself
By Andrew Merrell | 28th May 2019
Six decades of expertise have been passed on to a new generation at a Gloucester firm.
Industrial insulation specialist PLG invested in training some of its most experienced members of staff to become mentors, allowing them to pass on their skills and knowledge to their staff.
All of which means Paul Smaylen has become the first employee to qualify under their charge with an NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Thermal Insulation - Fit Protection.
The 29-year-old was trained by experienced engineers Richard Fairs and Tom Smith, who have more than 30 years in the industry between them. Mentoring by supervisor Darren Dix, who joined PLG six years ago as a trainee thermal insulation engineer.
Mr Fairs and Mr Smith benefitted from a 'Train the Trainer' course run by Gloucestershire Enterprise, to enable them to pass on their expertise and deliver the training required for Mr Smaylen's NVQ.
Mr Smaylen joined PLG two years ago after deciding upon a change of career from his previous supervisory role within a family-run waste management company.
"I'd gone as far as I could in my previous role, I saw this position as an ideal opportunity to add training to my other skills and I'm really glad that I took it.
"I'm very lucky to have been able to learn so much from the people I'm working with now. Within a few weeks of starting I was working on the job, being shown the ropes, and progressing further," said Mr Smaylen.
"Now I'm at the point where I can do jobs by myself thanks to the skills which have been made available to me, so I'm really grateful to PLG for giving me this training.
"Thermal insulation is a specialist trade so there's a great deal of specific knowledge to be passed on. By taking it on board I'm making sure the expertise endures, which can only be beneficial for PLG and our customers.
"While I'm a bit older than a typical apprentice, the way my career's gone - developing professional skills first and technical skills afterwards - has actually worked out quite well.
"I have a clear career path from here and plenty of scope for development and further qualifications, so it's ideal."
Andy Moon, group chairman, whose grandfather founded ISD Solutions in 1946, has responsibility for ensuring the company values and culture continue to develop.
"As a business it is always striving to be better and this fits with the culture and values across the P&M Group. Investing in the training and development of employees plays a big part in that.
"We are all delighted and proud of Paul's achievement and what it signifies for the potential for PLG going forward.
"By offering a structured and successful training programme we will attract the new workforce we require for the continued growth and sustainability of the business."
Mr Smaylen's new learning enables him to fulfil a range of insulation activities including the application, handling and storage of insulation materials, regulated erecting and dismantling of equipment, safety, and an understanding of the threat of asbestos.
He has now added certified technical knowledge and skills to his previously developed abilities managing people, problem solving and improvisation, to become a valued member of the PLG team.
PLG Insulations was acquired by the P&M Group, which includes composite panel specialists ISD Solutions, in September 2016.
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