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Hereford-based HFT Forklifts marks National Apprenticeship Week (March 11-15) by urging companies to invest more in young people

Over the years, the successful family-run business has seen the benefits of an apprenticeship programme which began more than 25 years ago and is continuing with the appointment of 18-year-old trainee engineer Paul Tanner.

One in four of HFT’s engineering and office staff are former or current trainees, including Paul Bartleman, who was the company’s first engineering apprentice in 1987, and Zoe Ferriday who is now human resources director.

Zoe said: "Over the last 25 years, we’ve developed a programme that effectively combines both on and off-site training to give our employees the practical skills and qualifications our business needs to succeed. We’re committed to supporting ‘on the job’ learning and the results speak for themselves."

As well as employing Amy Bowes, one of the UK’s first female engineering apprentices, HFT has seen Harriet Watts win Herefordshire Group Training Association’s commerce apprentice of the year. Rob Birch also picked up the Fork Lift Truck Association’s national apprentice of the year in 2000 and has since gone on to act as an ambassador for the company’s training programme.

"For us, investing in people’s futures has really paid dividends and it’s proved vital to our growth and longevity. We’re delighted to have Paul on board and he’ll certainly be given the opportunity to build his career with us," added Zoe.

Commenting on his apprenticeship, Paul said: "I always wanted a job with prospects so HFT is perfect for me. I’m really enjoying the work and it’s great to be able to earn as I learn."

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