Three apprentices have their careers ‘locked-in’ after securing employment with North East shipping container and self-storage business, the Parsons Containers Limited. Twenty-year-old Christopher Waller from Stockton is the latest recruit to join the 22-strong team at Parsons which is headquartered in Sedgefield, County Durham, with sites throughout the region.
Parsons Containers Limited is one of the UK’s leading shipping container businesses, and has been operating since 2000. The group comprises Parsons Containers, which sells standard and bespoke containers, self-storage business U Hold The Key and online brands ContainerContainer and ContainersNow, which sell containers nationwide. Christopher Waller has joined the business as site maintenance apprentice, working across the company’s U Hold The Key self-storage sites at nine North East locations.
Christopher’s role is varied and includes being responsible for keeping the sites and containers clean and tidy, painting stores and undertaking repairs to ensure they’re kept in prime condition for customers. Alongside the on-the-job training, he is engaged with training provider Northern Skills Group where he is working towards an NVQ. As part of his apprenticeship, Christopher will be getting training in the skills associated with container conversion work for bespoke customer needs.
Parsons recognises the value of apprentices in supporting the company’s growth, with Christopher’s appointment taking the number of trainees employed by the firm up to three. In the past four months, Morgan Rouse and Phoebe Coates have also begun apprenticeships with Parsons, both working at the company’s Sedgefield headquarters.
Eighteen-year-old Morgan from Sedgefield joined the business in November 2016 as a business administration apprentice for Parsons Container’s Ltd, the company’s original shipping container sales and hire arm. Her duties include being the first point of contact for sales enquiries, organising transport and generating customer invoices. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Phoebe, who also lives in Sedgefield, joined the company in January as a business administration apprentice, working with U Hold The Key. Her responsibilities include assisting with customer enquiries, taking customer payments and inputting customer data. Morgan is receiving her training through New College Durham, and Phoebe is also engaged with Northern Skills Group.
Parsons Containers has a long tradition of using apprenticeships to recruit and train staff, that goes back 14 years. Container sales manager Stephen Collins and operations manager Dean Tempest both joined the company as apprentices, in 2003 and 2007 respectively.
Ean Parsons, managing director of Parsons Containers, says that apprenticeships can offer significant benefits to businesses. He comments: “As well as providing a platform to bring young people into the workforce and giving them the chance to secure permanent employment, apprenticeships can provide many opportunities for businesses. We’ve found that having a workforce made up of a range of ages and experience gives us lots of different perspectives; for example, our younger team members’ input into marketing plans and the use of platforms like social media have been really insightful. The apprenticeship programme enables us to train young people with the skills that are most important to us, and which will also benefit them throughout their careers.
“Christopher, Morgan and Phoebe are already making valuable contributions to the business and we will continue to support them throughout their apprenticeship programmes and beyond.”
At the other end of the age spectrum, Parsons Containers recently announced the retirement of 80-year-old site manager Peter Robson who has been replaced by 64-year-old successor Arthur Jennings. The apprentice appointments come at a time of significant expansion for Parsons Containers’ U Hold The Key operation which has opened three new sites at Sunderland, Darlington and Mainsforth, near Ferryhill, in the last six months alone. The new sites give the company a capacity of 1,500 stores, up from around 1,000.