School pupils get to see “under the bonnet” of Campervan business

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A CAMPERVAN conversion specialist has produced a video tour of its workshop for local school pupils as part of a national work experience initiative.

Staff at the employee-owned Jerba Campervans showcased their skills and shared their knowledge with pupils at North Berwick High School about working in the industry.

The current apprentices at the Volkswagen Transporter converters produced a video which gave an overview of the organisation and the career paths each of them took.

It is part of the Digital Work Placement Programme [DWPP] which enables school pupils the opportunity to gain work experience and business insight remotely following the Covid-19 pandemic.

One apprentice behind Jerba’s video is former chef, Gareth Jones, who joined the firm last year. The 25-year-old reassured pupils that it’s not all about getting into university.

Gareth said: “I left school at the age of 16 and became a kitchen porter and from there did a professional cookery course and worked my way up to become a chef. However, I felt like I needed a change, and I had always kept a close eye on Jerba.

“My friend worked here for a while and told me there was a position going, and so I applied and got the apprenticeship. I had no experience in this field beforehand. I just wanted to be in a job which enabled me to get hands-on.

“Everyone here is invested in the business, and this is partially down to the company being employee-owned, meaning there is a collective motivation to do the best we can each day.

“We wanted to produce a video which showed pupils that you don’t have to go to university to get an engaging job, and doing this video is a small part of us giving back to the local community.”

The DWPP was set up by Gateway Shared Services [GSS] to allow school pupils the opportunity to gain work experience throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Businesses have been encouraged to set work projects and mock interviews for students to allow them to engage in work experience.

GSS Work Placement Officer, Anne Mallin, said: “Jerba Campervans has supported the work placement programme in East Lothian since 2011 after a school pupil asked if they could do work experience with the company.

“Each year since Jerba has taken on a pupil from the school who has an interest in carpentry and conversions. However, due to the pandemic we asked the firm if they could produce some activities for the students which they could work on remotely.

“The value of work experience is second to none for students and it really is the gateway to the working world for them; teaching them how to conduct themselves in a workplace to applying self-discipline.

“Jerba has been an integral part of the work placement programme for so many years. The whole ethos of the company: providing fairness and opportunity is something that really aligns with our own values, and they are the type of company we want to have on our database.”

The video forms part of the North Berwick-based company’s incentive to engage with the local community and share the employee ownership model with other businesses.

Jerba Campervans is committed to furthering the employee ownership model by sharing its knowledge and company ethos within the wider community and thus furthering the employee ownership model

As a small firm, the VW converter has the flexibility to work with customers on bespoke solutions so that the internal layout is best suited to their needs. The team of mechanics and cabinet makers offer five different conversions of both the short wheelbase and long wheelbase T6.1 Transporter van.

To find out more about Jerba Campervans, visit: www.jerbacampervans.co.uk

For more on its employee-ownership, visit: https://www.jerbacampervans.co.uk/employee-owned-company/