Apprentices crafting a bright future

Three young apprentices are set to become tomorrow’s skilled craftsmen thanks to local company Roundhouse, and a grant from Malvern Hills District Council.


Josh Hocking, 20 from Pickersleigh, has just completed his apprenticeship with the award-winning luxury kitchen designer and is now working as a qualified cabinet maker.


Zak Taylor and Nathan Dobbins, both 19, will shortly be completing their apprenticeship and hope to follow in Josh’s footsteps. All three will be honing their skills under the tutelage of the most experienced cabinet makers on the Roundhouse team.


The trio were taken on with the support of the council’s Malvern Hills Apprenticeship Grant, which offers £1,000 towards the cost of training an apprentice to businesses in key sectors, including advanced manufacturing.


Roundhouse offers bespoke design solutions from high profile showrooms across London, but every kitchen is tailor-made and precision engineered by skilled craftsmen from the company’s Malvern factory in Spring Lane.


Simon Smith, Production Manager at Roundhouse, said: “This is a family company and those values translate into our approach to workforce development. No company can guarantee a job for life, but we invest in our young people so that they have a solid crafts foundation to build their career on. It’s not just good for our company, it’s good for the future of our industry and UK Plc.”


Zak added: “We learn all the basics of wood joinery at college, and then get the specialised cabinet making skills training on the job.”


This week marks the 10th anniversary of National Apprenticeship Week which aims to shine a light on the benefits to businesses and young people of investing in apprentices to produce the skilled workforce of tomorrow.


More than 500 people started an apprenticeship across the district last year and Malvern Hills District Council is committed to playing its part in increasing that number further through its five year plan.


The Government has signalled its intent to boost skills training through the introduction of an Apprenticeship Levy, which comes into force from April 2017. The levy will be paid by all UK employers with a paybill of more than £3 million. Money raised will be ploughed back into generating new apprenticeships.


Cllr Phil Grove, Leader of Malvern Hills District Council, said: “As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of National Apprenticeship week, it is clear that apprenticeships are here to stay. We are privileged to have employers like Roundhouse in the district that are investing in our young people. We share that commitment through our five year plan, and the Malvern Hills Apprenticeship Grant is just one of the ways in which we are delivering against that commitment.”


Phil Merrick, Head of Economy and Communities at Malvern Hills District Council, added: “As the government introduces new funding rules from April 2017, I’d urge all businesses to take another look at how apprenticeships can help their business.”


To find out more about apprenticeships, including the new Apprenticeship Levy, funding and grants contact Worcestershire Apprenticeships by emailing or visit