Luke Dowson, HR Apprentice, Head Office, Stockton-on-Tees
National Apprenticeship Week 2021
It’s Thursday… Fourth day of Pickerings Lifts celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2021, and today we’re introducing you to Luke Dowson.
Luke is one of the unsung heroes of Pickerings Lifts. He works in the HR department. Whilst engineers are out and about; whilst customer service managers are working with clients, and whilst regional admin staff are scheduling and allocating staff for lift repairs and loading systems installation, Luke is quietly going about his job, bringing on board new employees, booking staff training and handling many of the nuts-and-bolt ‘stuff’ that helps to secretly keep the wheels of the largest independent lift and maintenance company turning.
He joined us coming up to two years ago, and is currently working his way toward an NVQ Level 3 in Business Administration as an HR & Training Apprentice.
He’s a normal working guy, which at Pickerings Lifts means he’s always busy, but somehow, he always has a smile for anyone who pokes their head into the HR department, and that’s where we found him for these apprenticeship questions.
Hi Luke. Good to see you. Let’s start with what a typical working day looks like for you. Can you give us a flavour of what you do, please?
“On a daily basis… just about anything to do with the nitty-gritty of staffing. Putting together employment packs, setting up employment contracts on the system, dealing with employee sicknesses and absences; booking training requests for colleagues, and helping the HR team with any of their requests.”
What is the most interesting thing you have worked on/memorable experience at Pickerings Lifts?
“I really enjoyed going to a HR conference in Gateshead – pre-pandemic, of course – where we heard about and discussed different elements of HR… employment law, absences, ect. [He smiles] I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoy it and that’s what you want from a job isn’t it?”
What has changed about your role since the Covid-19 crisis?
“My role hasn’t changed dramatically, to be honest. There’s a lot of computer based work, so as long as I’ve got a broadband connection, a telephone and we follow the social distancing rules, I’m pretty much equipped to work.”
How are you finding your studies and work during the pandemic?
“Studying has changed at times due to lockdowns throughout my apprenticeship so lessons are online which has its challenges.”
What do you enjoy doing when not working?
“Oh, the usual, socialising with friends, but I also like watching Mixed Martial Arts and Kickboxing.”
Really? Are you a kickboxer?
[He laughs] “No, no. I get tired just watching it. I have friends who compete so I have an interest in the events.”
Investing in young people
We view apprenticeships as an investment in young people that will reap dividends for Pickerings Lifts far into the future. By providing apprentices with the skills and knowledge necessary to work within the lift industry, we are equipping them with a vocation that will help them throughout their lives. At the same time, we’re helping to secure a stable, reliable, and highly educated workforce, trained in the Pickerings Lifts methods and values.
Pickerings Lifts currently has 11 apprentices working for us, and as you might expect with a national company, they’re spread out across the whole of the UK.
Equally, because we install, maintain and repair all types of lifts, and all these activities have to be managed and co-ordinated, our apprentices have a wide range of job descriptions too. Just a few of the apprenticeships we offer include administrators for human resources, business operations and our fleet department. We also have lift engineering apprenticeships in our business streams, lift maintenance and repair, loading systems and escalators.
The Institute for Apprentices and Technical Education apprenticeship training
Pickerings Lifts helped create the new apprenticeship standard that is revolutionising the future training of lift and escalator engineers.
The ‘Level 3 Lift and Escalator Electromechanic Apprenticeship Standard’ was approved for delivery last year, and was the result of a trailblazer group which included Pickerings Lifts, the Lift and Escalator Industry Association (LEIA) and several other companies in the lift and escalator industry.
Rachel Swales, HR and Training Officer at Pickerings Lifts, attended the trailblazer group on behalf of the company, and commented…
“This new standard ensures thorough, high quality apprenticeship training. It results in well-trained engineers with solid foundations set for a successful career in the lift industry.”