Apprenticeship success inspires CDS to expand training programme

Posted: 05.01.2023

CDS is expanding its apprenticeship programme after dipping its toe, or rather its foot, in the water earlier this year – and plans to increase its growing stable of apprentices to ten over the coming years.

The company teamed up with the UK’s largest fire and security apprenticeship provider, Skills for Security, back in the spring. The arrangement sees CDS apprentices offered a three-year hands-on programme which involves attending college for a week every three months to learn the theory behind the practices they carry out. They also take part in a full health safety course which looks at asbestos awareness, working in confined spaces and working at height.

In addition to the Skills for Security training, all CDS apprentice engineers undergo additional manufacturer,International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) and Prefabricated Access Suppliers and Manufacturers Association (PASMA) and Fire Industry Association (FIA) training.

CDS currently has three apprentice engineers on the payroll, all of whom have also completed Gent manufacturing training, along with the foundation element of BS 5839, the British Standard for fire detection and alarm systems. All apprentices are provided with full tool kits, testing equipment, laptops and vehicles.

One of CDS’ ‘star apprentices is fire alarm service engineer Grace McDonald, who was nominated a few months ago as Apprentice of the Year at the British Security Awards ceremony – something she hopes will inspire more women to join the industry.

The British Security Awards, run by the British Security Industry Association, recognise security officers and companies working to keep people, property and places professionally protected.

Grace is passionate about her work, an advocate for more women to join the industry and keen for the education system to encourage girls to look into a variety of careers from an early age.

“I think all trades – be it fire alarm engineering, plumbing, heating, electrical or bricklaying – should be presented to girls throughout school so they can make an informed decision about whether that’s something for them or not. When I was at school, the trades were never presented to the girls as an option,” she said.

“I was really fortunate to have stumbled across the fire alarm industry while unhappy in an office job, and just found the industry clicked with me and presented a career path I was really eager to follow.

“This awards ceremony gave us all a great opportunity to celebrate women in the fire industry and to see other apprentices being recognised for their dedication and commitment to an industry I truly enjoy being a part of.”CDS CEO Simon Abley said: “This is a brilliant achievement and we are all incredibly proud of Grace. This is such well-deserved recognition for the amazing job she does.”

The next cohort of three apprentices is likely to join in August 2023.

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