Gas Gives Apprentices Keys to the Boardroom

We’ve called for more entrepreneurs to look at apprentices as a way of driving their first phases of growth – and we’re giving our latest intake the keys to the boardroom to prove they have what it takes.
As the latest figures from the Skills Funding Agency show, a record-breaking 871,800 apprentices were working during 2014-15. We believe moving apprentices up the list of priorities for start-ups could be one of their best investments. GAS was set up just four years ago, but chief executive and chairman Bradley Groves has been an active supporter of apprenticeships since it first opened its doors, and last year the company joined other regional giants such as Nissan and Nifco in setting up its own scheme.

But we’re taking things to the next level by inviting our apprentices into the board room to help young colleagues work with senior staff and take part in key decision-making as we continue our soaring growth, with a target to increase staff numbers to 161 by the end of June.

Bradley told BQ: “I think entrepreneurs may be missing a trick by not considering apprentices early enough. Having an energised young team is vital to the way GAS works and we see it as a key part of our growth plans. We trust them and they appreciate that, which helps build the close working relationship we want here.

“So we are inviting our apprentices to join us in the boardroom to experience what it’s like to run a business. We know they will embrace the opportunity and it will be a huge benefit to us and them as their careers progress.

“Our latest talented intake of apprentices already play a vital role in the future of the company and we will be working with them over the next three years to develop their skills and bring out their full potential.”

And the GAS apprentices seem to share their boss’s enthusiasm.
Abbey Bestford, customer experience apprentice, said:

“It’s like a step into the real world, dealing with real people and having the opportunity to do something great.”

Michael, finance apprentice, said:

“As apprentices we get to grow with the company and place our opinions and our talents in ways that other companies maybe wouldn’t allow for.”

Group HR Director Judith Bennison added:

“Apprentices make sound business sense. An injection of fresh talent can bring new perspectives and ideas to a company and this is an essential ingredient for business growth. There is some really exciting young talent on our doorstep and our new recruits all have different qualities that they bring to GAS.”

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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.


“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.