Employer Case Study: Eastnor Pottery

Employer Jon Williams from Eastnor Pottery talks about his experience hiring and training apprentices

We like to make sure what we do as a training provider is right for employers and the apprentices we work with. One of the ways we do this is to speak to employers about their time with apprentices, looking at why they looked to hire an apprentice, how the apprenticeship benefited their company, the trials and tribulations and more importantly whether they would hire an apprentice again.

Eastnor Pottery is a family run business established in 1994 by professional artist potters Sarah Monk and Jon Williams. As well as making and exhibiting their unique designs, the couple have a combined 50 years’ experience of working with thousands of workshop participants, all ages and abilities, all over the West Midlands and beyond.

Eastnor are currently on their 4th apprentice with Creative Alliance we spoke with Jon Williams the owner of Eastnor Pottery.

  • Why did you decide to employ an Apprentice?

We had a skills gap and the business was expanding, so we felt it could be a good way to expand a workforce. We wanted to do this by nurturing someone within the business. As we do a lot of workshops and we felt developing the workforce through the business would be a very satisfying experience and it was! And there was an economic and ethical reasons too.

  • What made you work with Creative Alliance as your Learning Rpovider?

We have worked with Noel (Creative Alliance MD) for many years, they were very specific to our industry and having that specific knowledge so on that choice there was no hesitation.

  • What job does the apprentice have?

The role of the apprentices are to assist in schools for workshops, working with the public as well. Technical jobs like packing kilns, maintaining equipment etc.

  • What does an apprentice bring to the organisation?

They bring another point of view to the organisation and fresh ideas. We also then hit a wider audience, having a young person in the business lets us relate better to young audience. With our four apprentices we have had a diverse amount of people from lots of different walks of life. They also bring different skills, especially on the digital side – working with Ipads, online banking and card payments…all brought in by our apprentices.

  • What would you say to other employers thinking about hiring an apprentice.

We say go for it! We deliberated for years, open minded for the experience. You are starting with a blank canvas as such. You train them to do what you want them to do and Creative Alliance helps support the theory and understanding. But you need to put the time in. It’s definitely a ‘get what you put in’ scheme. We had, before apprentices, 1 fulltime and 1 part time employees, we now have 5 full time employees.

Please find Eastnor Pottery’s website here

If you are interested in hiring an apprentice then please click here for more information.