James Oliver Conservatories Invests in the Future

After securing a £1m sales boost this year, James Oliver Conservatories – an independent home improvement specialist based in the East Midlands – has expanded its apprenticeship programme.

Conservatory Outlet Network member James Oliver Conservatories has capped off an incredible year by detailing further commitments to its apprenticeship programme. 

Based in Lincoln and covering Lincolnshire and parts of the East Midlands, James Oliver Conservatories has seen staff numbers rise from 35 to 50 and invested over £250,000 into its state-of-the-art showroom.

Central to the company’s plans for further expansion is its apprenticeship programme, which has recently welcomed two new starters. The pair of Lloyd and Zack joined just before Christmas as apprentice bricklayers in a move that expand the firm’s fitting teams and provide support and training for the next generation of skilled labourers.

“The last 12 months have been some of our busiest in our 40-year history,” explained Simon Ahearn, general manager of James Oliver Conservatories. “We’ve seen orders from all over the region, from the Lincolnshire coast across to Mansfield and parts of north Nottinghamshire. Ramping up activity has been a nice but difficult challenge, and we’ve found we need more staff in all parts of the business to make sure we can complete existing projects and deliver new work in timescales the clients are happy with.”

Simon continued: “We’ve taken on a lot of experienced people, but also recognised the need to grow our staff. This has seen us invest in Lloyd and Zack, working with Lincoln College to help deliver a mix of practical and theoretical training, boosted by an internal mentoring programme with senior colleagues.”

James Oliver Conservatories was founded by its eponymous owner over 40 years ago and is now run by his sons, Tom and Will Oliver. Central to their recent success is their position within the Conservatory Outlet Network.

 “Being part of the Conservatory Outlet Network of retailers has been instrumental in our growth, giving us lots of external advice, help in creating a 3D walkthrough of our showroom, and industry-leading marketing support,” Simon added. 

“The [marketing support] has been extremely useful, generating more than 2000 new leads in the last 12 months, many of which have been converted into actual sales. This has seen us move from being worried about a potential drop in orders when Covid-19 struck, to trying to manage our best ever year.”

Greg Kane, Conservatory Outlet’s CEO, added: “James Oliver is a superb family business, delivering some of the highest quality home improvement projects in the East Midlands. The management team embraced our desire to be proactive during the first lockdown, and are now reaping the dividends, investing in new staff. I’m delighted to see they are training the fitters of the future.”

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