Rod Halling operates three Driver Hire offices covering Plymouth, South Devon and Bodmin/Truro and he’s a big fan of apprenticeships. Since buying his Driver Hire franchise seven years ago, Rod has nurtured several apprentices, two of whom have gone on to successful careers within his franchise business. Tom Williams is manager of Rod’s South Devon office and Connor Ferguson is Operations Manager for all three sites.
“What I like about the apprenticeship scheme is that you start with a blank sheet,” says Rod. “I only take on recent school leavers so I can train them in the way I need them to be. I ensure that they have the basics in English and Maths but I don’t pay too much attention to other exam results. I look for people who have excelled in other aspects of their life. For instance, Connor was an excellent footballer and had been in the Plymouth Argyle development squad; Tom is an outstanding French speaker. Neither qualities are relevant to recruitment, but it says something about them as a person – a tenacity in their approach perhaps.”
Connor joined Driver Hire when he was 16, more or less straight from school. “I wasn’t interested in university,” says Connor. “I wanted to find something that enabled me to earn and get a qualification at the same time. That’s the beauty of an apprenticeship. I’ve now got a Level 3 Business Administration qualification and have gone on to add a management qualification. It was challenging – there’s course work and exams so you must be prepared to research and revise. Everything I did was relevant to my day to day role at work, so it all had a very practical application. I love the variety and challenge of my job. I work with a great team and certainly have no regrets about leaving school or not going to university.”