For Gas Safety Week, online electricals retailer AO announces today that it has introduced funded gas apprenticeships for the first time to both grow its fleet of qualified engineers and invest in training.
Following the introduction of the new apprenticeships, AO is now successfully upskilling and training several cohorts – many of whom were self-employed drivers contracted by the company. For the first time, the retailer has launched the fully funded course aimed at both current employees and contracted drivers, which provides an accessible pathway to the Level 3 gas qualification. This runs alongside a new apprenticeship funded by the government levy, which is open to anyone with a full driving license.
Lynne Wood, Director of Service Delivery at AO Logistics, said: “I’m so proud that we can now invest in providing accessible opportunities by offering these gas apprenticeships for the first time. Many of the contracted drivers and electrical installers have jumped at the chance to train in gas, and I’m so pleased we can support their future careers. With more qualified gas engineers on hand, we can also make our leading delivery and installation proposition even better for customers.”
Running for up to 16 weeks, the fast-track programme consists of both online and classroom teaching, as well as on-the-road experience to quickly upskill participants. The AO funded scheme runs alongside an apprenticeship funded by the government apprentice levy that offers comprehensive training in driving a 3.5 tonne van, gas qualifications and functional skills across 16 months.
Edward Knight first crossed paths with AO in 2018 when he was contracted for driver services before training as an electrical installer and he is now participating in the first cohort of the gas apprenticeship. He said: “I’m really chuffed that I’ve had the chance to do my gas training, which adds another string to my bow when it comes to my career. I’ve always considered doing an apprenticeship, but it was never an option due to the cost – so I jumped at the chance when I saw that AO was offering to fund it and I’ve really enjoyed the training so far.”
As part of AO’s installation offering, the engineers disconnect the old appliance at the point of delivery and safely install the new one with a full health check. The engineers are accredited to the highest standards, with Gas Safe registration, NICEIC electrical accreditation and membership to CHAS, the UK’s leading provider of compliance and risk management solutions.
AO acquired the two-person delivery company, formerly Expert Logistics, in 2009 and it now offers next day delivery to every UK postcode seven days a week on its range of 12,000 electrical products.