James Sunderland full of praise for building services specialists after visiting Oldbury’s HQ ahead of National Apprenticeship Week.
They say it’s never too late to learn new skills and so, in the spirit of National Apprenticeship Week, I put that to the test when I paid a visit to one of the Bracknell business sector’s outstanding success stories.
I was invited to Campbell West’s Oldbury headquarters to hear all about the company’s progress since it was set up in 2017 – by two former apprentice plumbers who now own a company with a £10-million turnover which employs 45 people.
That’s a healthy figure that includes a number of apprentices and helps explain why National Apprenticeship Week is close to the owners’ hearts and why they are keen to extol the virtues of apprenticeships which are key to the growth of their dynamic company.
It’s always a privilege for me to have a look behind the scenes at local companies and I have to say I was really impressed by what I heard from company owners Steven Campbell and Daniel West and their staff on my fact-finding mission.
I’ll tell you more later about being put to the test by them but overall, Campbell West is a perfect example of everything that we should be aspiring to right across the UK.
It’s young, up-and-coming company with relatively young leadership, it's growing and employing local people as it progresses and so these are exciting times for everyone in the company.
And I think it’s fair to say that the company’s journey so far has been nothing short of inspirational.
Campbell West designs, installs and maintains mechanical and electrical systems, such as heating and cooling, plumbing, ventilation, lighting, fire and security installations.
To put Campbell West into perspective, they use their expertise, for example, to help our hospitals chiefs control temperatures in operating theatres and air flow in other vital parts of the NHS.
Following an initial focus on the healthcare sector, the company expanded its reach to other industries including local government, education settings, data centres, workspaces and industrial buildings, plus large residential projects.
It’s a very impressive operation but there’s more to the company than meets the eye.
I discovered it was launched by Steven and Daniel after they learned their trade as apprentice plumbers with local businesses having resisted the temptation to head to university.
They managed to get the company up and running at the same time as they became fathers which is a pretty awesome achievement and since then it’s gone from strength to strength.
They have moved into bigger premises as the company has grown and they have ambitions to maintain momentum, expanding the excellent services they offer beyond the South of England.
They are onto something special with a business that is wholly scalable which is why it has huge potential.
Demand for their services is booming and the client base is expanding all the time, with more contracts being won all the time. That bodes well for the company’s future.”
They have a team of highly-skilled, dedicated and driven people who deliver excellent services to a growing array of clearly very satisfied clients.
But what makes Campbell West so special is their commitment to developing and rewarding the expertise of their people and investing in the young, up-and-coming apprentices who will be key to fulfilling the firm’s ambitious growth aspirations.
Under Steven and Daniel’s watchful guidance and with South East Business Insider editor Saptarshi Ray monitoring proceedings, I even got a chance to put my plumbing skills to the test in a carefully designed exercise.
I think I acquitted myself pretty well, but I very much doubt I’ve got what it takes to be a DIY whizz at home.
But that activity did confirm is that they are committed to investing in learning and I got the distinct feeling that because their trainees are being given an opportunity, they will reciprocate one hundredfold.
It also helps that in their bosses, they have tremendous role models who show that hard work can reap fantastic rewards.
After a Q&A with the company staff, as I headed back out into my constituency, my visit made me reflect on why Bracknell has become known as the ‘Silicon Valley of the Thames Valley’.
It’s because it really is a place of aspiration of opportunity and enterprise. Now we've got a high occupancy rate of our business premises, lots of top-rate facilities, good roads, a very employable and a very well qualified workforce.
This is a place where all the boxes tick and all the stars align so you're looking at starting a business, why wouldn't you come to Bracknell. The potential for our town and for local businesses like Campbell West is vast.