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Fibreline Ltd is a manufacturer of fillings for the upholstered furniture sector. Established in Keighley in 1982, we have grown to be the largest privately owned manufacturer in the sector, supplying many leading furniture manufacturing brands. 

We employ over 200 people, who contribute to Fibreline‚Äôs reputation for being a leader in both product and process innovation within the sector. In order to maintain this reputation and with focus on developing a skilled management team for the future, Fibreline decided to explore the introduction of degree apprenticeships. 

As a company, we recognised that adding apprenticeships would enable us to develop a workforce with the hands-on management skills required for the continued success of the business within a very labour-intensive manufacturing process. We contacted a number of universities, finally settling with Leeds Trinity University due to the course structure and the locality to our Keighley base.

The process of working with Leeds Trinity has been very smooth and the team have been very helpful in explaining the degree apprenticeship structure and process, which combines workplace training with part-time study at the University. 

For any employers thinking about exploring or preparing for an apprenticeship opportunity, my key piece of advice would be to speak to the team at Leeds Trinity about the finance and costs of a degree apprenticeship programme at the start, to make sure you fully understand how it works, and resolve any concerns at the start. At Fibreline, we also found the recruitment process quite hard as a small-to-medium enterprise (SME). I would recommend that you start this process in plenty of time as it always seems to take longer than you expect. 

Employing an apprentice has introduced a new pair of eyes into the business. We have found that an apprentice can bring a fresh approach to many long-standing processes and help us question how we should develop those processes for the future. The element of part-time study away from the workplace has helped us structure a suitable training programme, which ensures our apprentice gets time to learn and study for their degree qualification, while at the same time making real daily contributions to the operation of the business. We are so convinced that this is the right way for us to develop our future management team that we are now recruiting two more apprentices to start with us later in 2021. 

 

Richard Prudhoe, Managing Director at Fibreline, is currently working with Leeds Trinity University to recruit more Chartered Manager degree apprentices. Find out more about degree apprenticeships and the benefits to employers on the Leeds Trinity website.

 

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