Mark Taylor, Gas Install Manager

We spotted Mark’s potential when he was an apprentice and put him on our Management Trainee programme after he won our Fortem’s Got Talent award for exceptional performance.

Originally, Mark turned down a place at university because he wanted to work. But finding the right job was hard. "I tried several things, including working as a bookie and a personal trainer, but none of them was right and I was unemployed," he says.

Mark admits he probably would have been drifting today, had a bricklayer friend not told him about Fortem’s apprenticeships. Four years ago he started as an apprentice carpenter at Fortem. "It’s a great team there, a really great bunch of people," says Mark.

As well as his carpentry skills, Mark gained something even more valuable: a sense of ambition. "One month before the end of my apprenticeship, I was asked to give a talk to the local residents’ association about apprentices. It was well received,” he says. “That made me think that maybe I could do more than joinery."

He was encouraged by his mentor and manager to apply for Fortem’s Got Talent. The scheme took 24 members of staff from a variety of job backgrounds on a residential course to do group exercises, team building and mock interviews. The final stage was an interview at head office with Fortem’s operational director and director of human resources.

"I was one of three winners, which means I’ve been given the opportunity to be a management trainee, working in different parts of the business to learn about the company and to gain new skills," says Mark.

And he did end up going to university after all – every Wednesday to study a degree in business management and communications. "If I hadn’t found Fortem, I think I’d probably still be looking for work. I’ve got a great job now, but it’s more than that: it’s a career."

Spare Seat initiative

Occasionally, we have spare places on our training sessions that would otherwise go to waste. Our Spare Seat initiative allows us to offer the empty seats on our training course to those in our local communities that will benefit the most. The range of courses include: