Being a Plymouth manufacturer is an important part of Aldermans’ identity and purpose; and we demonstrate this by supporting business and community initiatives as much as we can.
Our Managing Director Karen Friendship chairs the Plymouth Manufacturers’ Network, a group of small manufacturers linked to the Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group (PMG). This has pioneered cross-company working groups and training initiatives where staff collaborate to promote manufacturing best practice.
Karen is a local STEM ambassador, so is regularly involved in events to inspire the next generation (and particularly young women) to follow a career in engineering. We have hosted groups of students at the factory, and set engineering challenges for students (such as our Christmas decoration challenge). Karen has also been a guest speaker at numerous engineering events, plus a mentor and judge for youth engineering competitions. She also supports the Plymouth University Employer Mentoring programme, helping to nurture the talent in local undergraduates.
We have taken apprentices throughout our history. Usually apprentices represent 5-10% of our workforce at any one time. We offer mechanical engineering apprenticeships for school leavers at age 16. We also accept apprentices transferring from other employers (eg, due to relocation).
We also offer short-term internships for undergraduates and graduates, from time to time when projects allow; plus week-long work experience placements for school and college students; and longer placements for international students.
We offer work placement and employment opportunities for disadvantaged adults (including former addicts and offenders), through recognised schemes. We have supported the Ready For Work initiative, delivered locally by the Plymouth-based charity Shekinah. This has helped give renewed self-esteem and a fresh start to marginalised members of the local community. We are open to participating in similar schemes in the future.
We are also a ‘Ban The Box’ employer, which means former offenders don’t need to declare convictions in the early stages of recruitment.
We regularly support charitable events, especially those with a particular connection to our staff. We usually participate in the St Luke’s Men’s Day Out; and have been known to Wear It Pink for breast cancer awareness! We are also members of the 110 Club, supporting Improving Lives Plymouth
“Karen Friendship has brought her infectious passion for STEM subjects, and has personally inspired our students in the possibilities of a career in manufacturing and engineering. For our female students in particular such a role model has been immensely valuable; the 2015 factory visit to Aldermans by our Year 10 girls to mark National Women in Engineering Day was a highlight. Karen has also presented at our 2016 Parent Forum, recognising as we do the importance of a strong partnership with parents in supporting our students.”
Kerry Eldershaw, Director of Engineering, Lead IV for Btec, University Technical College Plymouth