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Gloucestershire Business News

Family firm showcases its apprentices – and there is talk of 20 more

It was a proud moment for all concerned when one of the Forest of Dean's best-known family firms decided to put its apprentices' names in lights.

Famously founded by former hod carrier turned businessman Keith Bell, Bell Contracting is now driven by the next generation under managing director, Peter Bell, and employs an estimated 500 staff (300 direct employees and 200 sub-contractors).

Turnover at Bell Contracting - named in the 2019 Sunday Times Profit Track Top 100 of companies - is estimated to be £50m, Bell Homes has sales of £25m and Bell Plants' turnover is in the region of £3m.

But its most recent event - staged at its family-owned Bell Hotel, Coleford - was to showcase the next generation of talent being brought through - its apprentices, and in particular its most recent 13 graduates from its training scheme.

"Winners of the Outstanding Achievement Award went to Kai Richards and Edward Grindle, who have both shown tremendous effort throughout the course on site and in the classroom.

"The apprentices progress onto a diverse development programme which encourages them to continue their learning and personal growth within the business.

"We have a total of 25 apprentices, with a mix of technical i.e. surveying and bricklaying," said Nicola Bird, safety and business development director at Bell Contracting Ltd.

It was a proud moment for the firm and its staff, those who graduated in what was the general groundworks apprenticeship, their friends and family, and for training provider Salutem Limited, who were all there to bear witness.

"We are launching the next programme in April for the next cohort to start in July and we are looking to employee 20 apprentices for the two-year programme," added Mrs Bird.

"This apprenticeship offers the learning a 'hands on' experience with the training hubs set up on site and within our yard.

"We provide a safe and comfortable environment which can be adapted to the learners needs and has flexibility to be able to add modules, field trips and introduce new tech such as GPS control.

"Going into teaching was a huge leap of faith but it has been extremely rewarding. This is the start of something very exciting."

Read more: Building and groundworks firm invests millions in new machinery 

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