Hertfordshire-based Maydencroft has joined Lady Cobham, the Director General of the CBI, in endorsing the work of the5% Club on the fifth anniversary of its establishment.

The 5% Club is an employer- member organisation encouragingbosses to ensure at least fivepercent of their workers arebenefiting from ‘earn and learn’opportunities. It has 340 members representing businesses across many sectors who liaise closely with organisations such as the Institute for Apprenticeships and further education colleges.

Lady Cobham says: “Over the next few years businesses will face unprecedented change.The increasing use of ArtificialIntelligence, data insight and other technological advances will become the expected norm for businesses in order to thrive and as such, we need to prepare our work forces accordingly.”

Seventy-eight per cent of businesses surveyed by the 5 % Club strongly believed that earn and learn training opportunities, including apprenticeship schemes, can help address future changes in the workplace if we’re to successfully compete in a global market.

An ageing workforce, a continuing skills gap and the rising use of new technology such as Artificial Intelligence, are all challenges which businesses can positively tackle by providing employees with on-the-job training and relevant skills, according to the 5% Club.

Maydencroft was founded eleven years ago by Tom Williams with three people and now employs over one hundred. The company is based on a working farm near Hitchin, with a regional office inWindsor. It has invested half a million pounds in apprenticeship schemes since 2012 and is an active member of the 5 % Club. Tom Williams says: “I’ve always believed in apprenticeship schemes. For years I listened to farmers talking with great pride about how they’d spent a quarter of a million pounds on a combine harvester saying they hardly needed to employ anyone on the farm. Now they wonder why there’s a skills shortage in agriculture.

“We recognised immediately, as part of our business model, that the more people we employed, the more teams we’d have on the ground and the more profitable our business would be.

“We’re creating and moulding employees with the correct work ethic, culture, skills, and knowledge for them to pass on to following generations.”