Forterra News

NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP WEEK 22 – Meet our Forterra Apprentices

Since 2016, Forterra has taken on 79 apprentices with several more due to enrol by the end of this year. As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, our Head of Talent Management, Michelle Francis, explains why apprentices and apprenticeships are important to Forterra, and introduces us to three of our current apprentices.

“Apprentices are an important part of our talent management strategy, helping us to build a talent pipeline that will ensure the success of our business into the future, and contributing to our high performing teams. We hire new apprentices each year, but we also encourage existing staff onto apprenticeship programmes to support succession planning.

“The apprenticeships we offer are of a really high standard with a focus on continuous learning. Our apprentices are encouraged to get stuck in and given the chance to shine; two engineering apprentices from our Measham brick factory recently won an award at the prestigious British Ceramic Confederation Health and Safety Pledge Awards for their work in fabricating a solution to prevent access to an isolated area. Our apprentices aren’t bystanders, we expect them to work hard and learn, but in return they have the chance to develop skills and knowledge that we hope will bring them rewards throughout their career.

“As a member of The 5% Club, we’re committed to 5% of our workforce being in ‘earn and learn’ positions by 2025. We firmly believe that apprenticeships are a great route into a career in industry as well as being a valuable tool in helping existing employees to develop their career aspirations. Already approximately 3% of our workforce is in on-the-job training so we’re well on the way to meeting, and likely beating, the 5% target.”

“Below, Ollie, Matthew and Jessica share their thoughts on why they chose to be an apprentice with us.”

Ollie Michalski

19-year-old Ollie from Leicester is undertaking a Level 4 HNC in Surveying at Nottingham College. He joined Forterra last October and is currently working at our Hoveringham and Measham sites four days a week, with one day a week spent studying at college.

After deciding a career in his A-Level subjects, Economics and Politics, wasn’t for him, he started to look at alternative routes to industry and an apprenticeship seemed like the ideal choice.

He said, “Earning and learning at the same time made perfect sense to me. A family friend suggested I might be quite good at surveying. I think I have the right kind of personality for it; I’m chatty, I can be up front and feel I can get my point of view across and stay firm when I need to! I’m really enjoying it so far.”

Matthew Lardner

Career development was the reason why 32-year-old Production Manager Matthew decided to undertake a Level 5 apprenticeship in Leadership and Management with Make UK. His course is all distance learning, which he balances with his day-to-day responsibilities on site.

Inspired by his father who worked for Forterra for 22 years before retiring last year, Matthew is hungry to gain new skills and is willing to work hard in order to succeed.

He said, “I learnt early on in life that to do well you have to put the effort in. I’ve worked for Forterra for seven years and have recently been promoted to Production Manager. My job is very demanding, but I really welcome the chance to continually push myself through learning. My advice to anyone is to grab all the opportunities you can.”

Jessica Tadman

Following the completion of her GCSEs, 17-year-old Jessica Tadman, from Peterborough, joined Forterra in summer 2021 as Customer Service Apprentice at Forterra’s Whittlesey office.

The Level 3 course is being provided via Intec Business College entirely online. Jessica spends a day a week in the office studying and the rest of the time putting her learnings into practice working as a Customer Service Specialist.

She said, “Before I started my apprenticeship, I was actually attending sixth form. After the first lockdown I quickly realised it wasn’t for me – I wanted a full time job and to start earning my own money.

“I believe this role is going to better equip me for the future. I’m gaining valuable experience and getting paid to do it.”

We look forward to seeing our apprentices continuing their development at Forterra and hope many of them can become future leaders.

To find out more about apprenticeships at Forterra, go to