What More UK, manufacturer of housewares brand Wham, are making great strides on integrating their latest acquisition Firsteel Ltd into the What More Group. One thing that has impressed the team at Firsteel is the success of the What More apprenticeship programme, and what it brings to the company.
What More operate in a specialist industry requiring traditional engineering skills. They pride themselves on their exceptional Apprenticeship programme run in conjunction with Burnley College, and were happy to share best practise with colleagues at Firsteel.
A team from Firsteel decided to investigate the possibility of replicating it in Walsall, to ensure their skills base continues to expand and retain traditional skills. Paul Didlick, General Manager and Barry Featherstone, Engineer Manager of Firsteel along with What More’s Garry Ireland, Operations Director and Sally Hulse, Group HR Manager soon made contact with the specialist department at Walsall College and the wheels were very quickly put in motion.
They were able to employ one apprentice to start immediately, and another, the grandson of a current member of staff, will start on receipt of his positive exam results. The team are also engaged with Walsall College to find a third, who will be working in the Technical Department. The second phase of this project is to provide work experience to a number of keen students from Walsall College. From this, Firsteel hope to find another two apprentices to join the team.
Directors at What More UK are delighted with how well Firsteel have fitted in to the group company. Company Director Tony Grimshaw OBE, commented:
The 40 members of staff at Firsteel are true professionals. The majority of the staff on the shop floor have over 30 years experience. They look forward to passing their wealth of knowledge and experience on to these young people, ensuring their skills carry forward to the next generations.
Firsteel, who manufacture and develop customised prefinished metal, are leaders in their field and have blended in very easily with other What More group companies. We’re really looking forward to the future now and what success that will bring!
What More UK manufacture metal and plastic housewares of all kinds, from around the sink items to garden, garage and officewares. What More is a proud member of Made in Britain and they export UK branded goods to 76 countries around the world, in addition to every major UK supermarket and another 1600 independent retailers.