SupplyTrain Founder, Maggie Fowler, began her own journey into work as the first female graduate to be employed in the finance office at Perkins Engines – a large engineering firm in the midlands. It was this start to life in work that inspired Maggie, 40 years on, to establish SupplyTrain.

“When I started work over 40 years ago, it was as an assistant in a large factory finance office. My employers, Perkins Engines, encouraged me to take CIMA (Chartered Management) Accountancy exams and paid for me to study a day-a-week at the local technical college. It was an apprenticeship in all but name.

“I came out with a world-class accountancy qualification, but more than that, I acquired other transferable work skills and a relationship with my employer where I felt I was a valued member of staff whose opinions were worthy of consideration and my new skills a benefit to the company. SupplyTrain’s philosophy is built on supporting all young people to have a start like that.”

“The skills I’d acquired, transferred from engineering to education and by the time I retired I had over 30 years rewarding experience in the management of schools, universities and colleges, including Director of Finance.

“So, as I collected my pension, I felt it was ‘time to pass on my good fortune’. I wanted to do something that would help today’s young people have the same start to their careers as I had and I wanted to help small businesses – the bedrock of our economy – create new jobs for those young people to thrive.

“The apprenticeship reforms provide that opportunity. The introduction of the Levy, once through its teething problems, will encourage larger businesses to take on apprentices in all areas and at all levels. There will be a step-change in the public’s attitude to apprenticeships, making it an option for young people on a par with going to university. There will be a real impact on social mobility as young people progress from one level to the next and more and more benefit from being in meaningful work.”

“However, small companies need help to become engaged. SMEs by definition are too small to have HR departments, are too busy trying to keep up with all the other demands on a small business. Who, in a small business, is going to take time out to understand the benefits an apprentice could bring?

“This is why I set up SupplyTrain. To give small businesses high-quality, impartial apprenticeship advice for free so they can grow and support more people into great jobs in their communities.”

How does SupplyTrain do this for free?

“To do this, SupplyTrain offers innovative apprenticeship consultancy services to large businesses, local authorities and training organisations. Our prices are modest, but enable us to cover our expenses supporting smaller businesses for free.

“We then support small employers over the phone, give apprenticeship presentations, help small businesses set up bespoke apprenticeship programmes, lobby the government to make changes to the apprenticeship system that will encourage SMEs to take on apprentices, design apprenticeship quizzes and marketing materials and put employers in touch with great training providers that suit their business over and over again.

“In fact, since our inception two years ago, SupplyTrain has played a small part in creating at least 50 apprenticeship opportunities at small businesses and we aim to reach much further in the coming year as our service grows and develops.”

If you like what you hear about SupplyTrain and would like to work with us – or for us – then read about us and get in touch today.