Apprentices are one third of the CUB workforce – the Cambridgeshire SME that invests in youth National Apprenticeship Week March 11-15 2013

Energy consultancy CUB UK Ltd of March in Cambridgeshire has a real passion for developing young talent. So much so that around a third of its 30-strong workforce is comprised of apprentices.

“As a family business, we’re aware of the importance of introducing fresh ideas and new blood,” says MD Louis Fairfax, the third generation of the Fairfax family to take the helm at CUB. “And as a successful business we’re also aware that it’s right to share new opportunities with our local community.”

Commitment to the apprenticeship concept is also something of a family affair, as CUB Chairman Jacqui Fairfax is also an Ambassador for the National Apprenticeship Service, while Head of Marketing, Melinda Fairfax, volunteers with March Young People, an initiative which helps children and young adults up to 25 to form and pursue their ambitions.

“We’re quite serious about the potential that the apprentices represent for us, and our aim is that each placement should turn into a full-time career, forming the foundation of the next generation of the business. Because our young apprentices mostly come straight from school, we have the opportunity to instil our core values of honesty, transparency and trust in business right from the start, and this will stand them in good stead even if they choose to move on in the fullness of time,” adds Jacqui Fairfax.

A high proportion of apprentices may seem like a cheap option, but each CUB apprentice receives the minimum wage during their placement, and having so many youngsters does demand a lot from the more experienced members of the team in terms of training and mentoring in the workplace. The company insists though, that this is very rewarding and makes for a close-knit team and a good blending of the age groups, allowing knowledge to be passed on, as well as sparking a lot of good ideas. “For a service based business we have quite a creative atmosphere as a result,” Melinda Fairfax concludes.CUB UK Ltd has won awards for its training and community involvement programmes and has Investor in People Status.