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Home maintenance company owner wants apprentices of 'all genders' to join business

PUBLISHED: 06:00 07 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:55 07 October 2018

Antony Howell, director of TradeBee in Norwich. Picture: C/O Antony Howell

Antony Howell, director of TradeBee in Norwich. Picture: C/O Antony Howell

C/O Antony Howell

The new owner of a building trades services company in Norwich is hoping to encourage more young men - and women - into the business.

Antony Howell, previously of global manufacturer Hamlin, bought Premier Heating Norwich in July and rebranded the business as TradeBee.

He inherited the company’s 8,000-strong customer database, with some promising commercial contracts and domestic work in the pipeline, but he hopes to broaden out its home maintenance offering to other trades.

The company now comprises 20 employees including plumbers and heating specialists, electricians, decorators and plasters, with plans to expand in the coming months.

Mr Howell, who began his career as an apprentice and has worked with Norfolk County Council on apprenticeships schemes, is keen to bring more young talent into the business.

He has already forged links with City College Norwich and Construction Training Specialists in Hellesdon and is looking to take on up to three decorating apprentices, with plumbing and heating apprentices to follow once he has more qualified gas engineers on board.

“We need to tell people that these opportunities exist,” he said. “One of the problems that I face is, you have to have the functional skills to get into the trades and that means you need to understand what you need to study to get into them, and schools sometimes don’t have the time or resources to educate students about it.”

He added: “My key is wanting to reach out to all genders.”

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