Proper People, Proper Jobs, Proper Training – Our Apprenticeship Scheme
“Without the Apprenticeship Scheme with Pointer, I wouldn’t be where I am now.” Steve Martin, Major Projects Manager
Young people are the lifeblood of our business. Pointer don’t simply pay lip-service to the training of young people; as with everything we do, we take genuine pride in developing proper people who share our values and want to do a proper job every single time.
Our experienced engineers train hand-picked apprentices in the skills of physical, electronic and cyber security.
Pointer are dedicated to the development of young people and have been committed to the training of apprentices since 1976. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, of course, but we can honestly say that our apprenticeship programmes properly work. They produce specialists capable of working on properly technical, properly demanding projects in properly demanding locations. And the programmes have been properly recognised: we’re a double National Training Award- winner. We are also a recognised trainer by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Skills for Security and over 40 years and through 160 apprentices, we have achieved 100% completion of the apprenticeship scheme.
If you are interested in undertaking an apprenticeship with Pointer, please check our News pages for updates on available positions, or use the ‘Contact Us’ form to set up an informal chat with one of our recruitment team.
Case Study 1:
Alex Cassells is the managing director of Pointer’s security division. He is well-respected throughout the security industry for his business acumen, his experience, and his technical knowledge.
Within the business he is admired for his dedication and commitment. He leads by example. He is a proper person doing a proper job.
Alex started his working life as an apprentice.
Pointer’s Apprenticeship Scheme
Pointer Limited started training apprentices in 1976. The commitment to training and apprentices was driven by Bob Rowan, founder of Pointer Limited. Mr Rowan was also a past chairman of the Security Industry Training Organisation and of Glasgow Opportunities.
Pointer Limited are also award winner, we were awarded a National Training Award and a Special National Training Award in 2003, these awards are in recognition of companies who have placed training at the heart of their business strategy. We are a recognised trainer by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Skills for Security. Apprentices are an important part in our business and we have trained our own apprentices for over 40 years and to date have trained over 160 apprentices. We have achieved 100% of Modern Apprentices complete the apprenticeship programme and due to the success of our scheme, we train apprentices from other security companies.
Pointer have a policy to train and develop Modern Apprentices. In Scotland, this is completed in-house with a dedicated member of staff to deliver our training program. In England, the apprentice attends college in Birmingham or London.
In Scotland, Modern Apprentices achieve the national accredited modern apprenticeship in Providing Security, Emergency and Alarm Systems, SQA Level 3, which is based on our National Occupational Standards and a Professional Development Award in Security Systems Engineering.
In England, major changes to apprenticeships are being introduced by the Government in 2017, consequently the previous framework,1853 – 2882 for Security Systems, was removed by City & Guilds on 31st December 2016. It will be replaced by a new ‘Trailblazer’ Standard Apprenticeship – the Fire, Emergency and Security Systems Apprenticeship Standard.
These are completed within 3 years with additional training included from suppliers and further technical training. Modern Apprentices also gain work experience while they learn new skills on site and will have the opportunity to work on high security applications including biometric scanning technology, video analytics applications and internet transmission systems all over the UK and possibly further afield.
Pointer also has in place “career path”, an internal training and development programme which offers staff the opportunity to develop their skills on a continuous basis up to and including studying at University. This has enabled the business to adapt successfully to working in a project environment, and to manage the change from analogue products to digital products. Through our career path 66% of managers in Pointer started off with our Modern Apprenticeship programme (see our Case Studies included on this page for full information).
Case Study 2:
Paul Stoddart is a specialist, a go-to guy, an expert. Even though his job is challenging, he’s the kind of person others have absolute confidence in to deliver. He is a Project Manager at Pointer, a role which involves him managing highly technical security projects in demanding environments, particularly within the prisons sector.
His team trust him, the clients trust him, and Pointer trust him to do a proper job. Simon Murray, Pointer’s Director of Custodial, says that “the quality of the Pointer’s prison installations and my custodial team are the best in the industry.” Paul Stoddart is one of the main reasons for such confidence.
Paul’s role demands a complex skillset of managerial acumen and technical know-how. He successfully manages a team of experienced engineers, sub-contractors, and apprentices, whilst also liaising with both clients and manufacturers. In order to manage projects successfully, he has trained to become a PRINCE2 Registered Practitioner.
But Paul’s continuous professional development doesn’t end there. He has become a true expert in managing risk in projects, specialising in health and safety. In 2007 he achieved the NEBOSH National General Certificate Level 3 in Occupational Health & Safety, IOSH, and in 2008 he was admitted as a Technician member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), and in October of 2008 furthered his Health & Safety knowledge by successfully completing the Essentials of Safety & Risk Management at the University of Strathclyde.
During the academic year 2008/2009 Paul satisfactorily completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Safety and Risk Management at the University of Strathclyde and in December 2009 Paul was admitted as a Graduate member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), and subsequently permitted the post nominal designation Grad IOSH. In 2010 Paul satisfactorily achieved the Postgraduate Diploma in Safety and Risk Management from the University of Strathclyde; and in the academic year 2010/11 successfully achieved the subsequent Master of Science degree (MSc). In 2011 Paul was elected a specialist member of the Institute of Risk Management and afforded the post nominal SIRM.
Paul began his working life with an apprenticeship at Pointer.
Case Study 3:
Stephen Martin is a Project Manager at Pointer, working mainly in the Utilities sector on behalf of clients such as Severn Trent Water and United Utilities. Steve oversees all aspects of major projects from cradle to grave. This role requires high-level technical expertise, top-notch time management skills, an aptitude for handling people, and a willingness to work hard. More than that, it requires a proper person with the right attitude. Steve’s role is highly pressured and it is also a crucial one within the business: it is up to Steve to ensure that we properly deliver on the promises we have made to major customers. He has a real instinct for crossing the t’s and dotting the I’s, and for ensuring that a project can be fully realised from paper to proper.
Steve started his working life as an apprentice with Pointer in 1987 (on a YTS apprenticeship scheme). ‘Without the apprenticeship,’ he says, ‘I wouldn’t be where I am now.’
Steve’s apprenticeship gave him the fundamental knowledge of Pointer’s business and the people skills to succeed in his career. It gave him a taste for life-long learning, and further to completing his apprenticeship, he has undertaken additional educational courses to accompany his journey. These include the Nebosh Health and Safety certificate, National Examining Board for Supervision certificates, Institute of Learning and Management Level 5 Certification and many more related training and product courses.
An apprenticeship with Pointer enabled Steve to fully understand the basics of electrical theory and a good knowledge of how security systems work, but he feels that there are other aspects to the scheme which were just as important. Fresh out of school, Steve hadn’t had any experience of the world of work prior to embarking on his journey. He had to learn on his feet with regards to the more ambient aspects of working life, such as interacting with fellow colleagues, speaking and dealing with your managers/supervisors and being able to communicate with Pointer’s valuable customer base.
Steve also sounds a note of caution for any young person wishing to undertake an apprenticeship. ‘You have to be prepared to put in as much as you take out of it in order to make an apprenticeship really work for you and for the business,’ he says. ‘You have to be prepared to work hard, and to come in with the right attitude.’
Steve’s is an attitude which has carried him up the career ladder to a high-level position within the business.