Training and Development at Compco Fire Systems Ltd

Back in 2015, Compco Fire Systems Ltd along with the local Worcester MP Robin Walker, opened a brand new training academy which was one of the first within the Sprinkler Industry and we are pleased to say that the academy has seen many training course since its opening. We have had internal training courses running for many years before 2015 and is not only suitable for new starters into the business but it is also used for up-skilling existing employees as the industry is always changing. We often have a great mix of those brand new to the business and those who have been at Compco for many years. By continuing to offer development opportunities throughout an employee’s career, it keeps them satisfied in their role and motivated to learn new ways of doing things. It also ensures that every member of staff is kept up to date on the latest standards to maintain the highest level of service to our clients.

We are well under way with our newest Compco training programme which is being run by our ‘semi-retired’ Business Development Manager – Richard Cox. Richard has almost 50 years of knowledge in the sprinkler industry and has worked for Compco since 2003. After developing his knowledge and skills with the business, he then worked his way up to becoming Compco’s Sales Director. He ‘retired’ in 2016 for a grand total of 2 days before coming back on the following Monday! He is now leading our internal training courses alongside other jobs.

We will be running two courses over the next few months due to the high take up. There are currently 24 candidates from Worcester, Hemel Hempstead, Swansea and Oldbury offices. The course was run earlier in the year for people from Scotland and more from Worcester. They will all sit a mock exam followed by a revision session where any questions or concerns will be addressed before sitting our 2 hour internal Compco exam. Whilst there is no formal pass mark, the previous candidates averaged around 75% which is fantastic! We were extremely impressed when Laura from Scotland achieved an incredible 100%!!

This week’s training session involved Sprinkler spacing and locations along with pipework terminology and layouts. Having already covered sprinkler basics including head types, uses and selection, an introduction to the LPC Rules and types of installations, those involved in the training still have lots to look forward to including calculation of pipe sizing, water supply design requirements, alarms, indications and monitored equipment and finally completion documents, signs and notices.

We have already had great feedback from the latest course; Dan who is moving from our Remedials team in Worcester to our Small Works Contracts team in Oldbury has said;

“I went into the training with a basic understanding of sprinkler systems. Starting in the Service Remedial department, my knowledge of the installation and design process was limited due to the nature of the works. Now with training, I understand the fundamentals of the Characteristics, Design and installation process of multiple types of sprinkler installations. It’s helped massively and given me a solid foundation to build from starting my new role in the Small Works department.”

Luke who has worked in our QS department since 2013 said;

“The internal training provided by Compco is a great way for a new employee to understand how sprinklers work and what components are require to make a sprinkler system. There is a huge amount of information within the sprinkler manual and this is good for not only training purposes but if you ever wanted to refresh your memory. Video’s which are included within the training are very good quality and very easy to understand.”

We also had great feedback from Dave, one of our Project Managers;

“I’ve found the training very good. Having been in the industry for nearly 20 years, I have found the training interesting, and has improved my knowledge of sprinkler systems massively. I would recommend this training for all types of job roles within the sprinkler industry.”

In addition to our internal training courses, Compco are also passionate about hiring and progressing apprentices within the business. We believe apprenticeships are a great alternative to college and university and see apprentices as the future of our business. The Managing Director of Compco; John Sinclair, began his career as an apprentice before starting up Compco in 1988 alongside Tom Hayes; the company’s Chairman. As such, it is clear the importance of apprenticeships and traineeships to John and the business and is one reason why Compco feel so strongly about ‘home-grown talent’. Many of our long serving employees began their career as apprentices or trainees and we look forward to seeing the next generations head into internal and external training courses and coming out confident employees who are real assets to our business.

Our Remedial Team Leader; Ryan, began life at Compco as an Apprentice at a mere age of 16. Ryan added;

“Since joining the company’s service department I have been involved in many projects and have received fantastic support from our senior staff to help me to grow within the team. I am now team leader of our ever growing service remedials department; this involves dealing with our service clients on a day to day basis to ensure their fire systems are maintained to the highest level.”

Ella, PA to the Directors / Head of Contracts Admin, also started as an apprentice at the start of her career;

“I started with Compco Fire Systems as an NVQ Apprentice in an Office Junior role in 2003, I have watched the company grow since I started and have personally progressed through the company to my current role of PA to the Directors / Head of Contract Admin.”

Joanne, our HR Administrator said

“After leaving behind a career in Childcare, I didn’t know what to do to get me into a career that I would enjoy and would give me job satisfaction whilst at the same time, having great career prospects. I joined a local Apprenticeship provider who told me all about Compco and the role in which they were offering. As a slightly older apprentice, I really appreciated the risk they took with me, having had no previous office experience. My Manager and the Directors were extremely supportive throughout my apprenticeship and way beyond, they have even put me through CIPD training and I am continuously developing from a personal and professional perspective.”

We have been running our internal training for many years, way before the opening of the new training facilities and have had many success stories from employees throughout Compco, some of which are now in senior roles within the company.

David who is now our Worcester Design Manager said;

“I joined Compco in January 2007 as a Trainee Design Engineer with no previous knowledge of fire suppression systems or the software used to design them. I spent my first week training on AutoCAD, which at the time was the main piece of software we used to design sprinkler systems. Following that, I was taught the basics of sprinkler design and was soon applying what I had learnt on live jobs. This progressed over the coming months and I was soon put forward for the LPC Basic exam. I was happy to have passed this which gave me more responsibility in the department and I was able to carry out design checks on other people’s drawings. Over the 12 years I have been at Compco, I have been constantly learning and trained on different fire suppression systems such as gas suppression and water mist. I have worked on a number of projects including retail, offices, schools, manufacturing plants as well as many others. This keeps each day varied and full of different challenges.”

Our National Small Works Manager; Marc also commented on his training and development with the company;

“I joined Compco over 13 years ago on the first training programme of its kind, a far cry from my previous career in outdoor pursuits! I still remember my interview with John Sinclair, I can now see that he was far more interested in my attitude and hunger to learn, rather than me trying to prove that I had a very basic grasp of AutoCAD. It was fast paced, challenging, but very rewarding and I was always given the support I was promised. 14 years on I have been lucky enough to have worked my way up to a Senior Manager role, looking after a fast growing Small Works Department with a dedicated team of loyal, hard-working staff who continue to make my job extremely rewarding!”

Here at Compco it is clear that continuous training and development is not only important for the business and clients but also for all employees to keep them engaged and to ensure they are happy in their job role. We continue to receive positive feedback from our internal training programmes and from other Trainees and Apprentices who work through coursework to achieve nationally recognised qualifications from external training providers.

If you are interested in a Traineeship or Apprenticeship or even if you have experience in the industry but looking for continuous training and development, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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