Catering equipment maintenance firm McFT was overwhelmed with applicants for its fourth engineer training programme.
280 applications were received from around the country to join the existing North, Midlands, London and South East teams. 106 telephone interviews resulted in 33 invitations to the assessment centre to determine the final 10.
The company makes a big investment in the 2 year programme, so this is a crucial stage and tests the water for both parties, providing an opportunity to assess candidates across a range of skills including ability and team working.
The course starts with basic skills and ends with the students being fully qualified catering or fridge engineers.
Although an engineering background is not necessary, all the trainees took part in an assessment day to determine their aptitude for the role, with a focus on people who understand what good customer service is. Successful applicants Anson, Matt, Steve, Chris, Billy, Ben, Joel, Tom, Iain and Dan have previously had various roles including a PE assistant, facilities support worker, van fitter, glass and glazing technician, kitchen porter and construction worker.
McFT stated it is committed to the ongoing training and development of its engineers. The company’s reputation rests on the work they carry out on a daily basis, and the course covers not just technical skills but also people skills. Facing a stressed chef with a broken oven on a busy shift can require some careful handling.
After rigorous assessment by City & Guilds, the internally developed course was awarded City & Guilds Assured status in 2018 which means that all participants will have a recognisable qualification at the end of it.
Kirstie Donnelly MD of City & Guilds and ILM said: “McFT gaining Assured status for four of its in-house training programmes demonstrates the high-quality of its training.
“McFT has very specific skills needs which sometimes can’t be met by ‘off the peg’ qualifications and courses. By building its own bespoke courses and having them accredited with Assured it has been able to exactly meet its business needs, whilst also retaining the stamp of quality that working with City & Guilds and ILM brings.”
The trainees will complete manufacturer and industry courses as well as working their way through a comprehensive programme that records all aspects of their training. They are allocated a personal coach who is a fully qualified McFT engineer, who they shadow and get hands-on experience of both routine service visits and emergency call outs. Once a fortnight, the training cohort attend the technical academy for 2 days, headed by technical leads and training managers, Paul Brooker and Matt Alderton.
Brooker explained what happens in a typical session: “We discuss what they have been doing over the last week while on site. This is all recorded in their personal training manuals. The training is set up so that they have a morning of theory followed by a day and half of practical training. This is done by setting up a series of tasks, each time more complicated than the last one.
“The programme starts with how to service and fault find on small hand-held appliances, moving up in size and complexity until we get to the big equipment like fridges and ovens. Training is the place they are always being tested, making sure they’re looking for potential hazards, and we’ll even try to distract them to replicate ‘real’ situations.”