Star apprentice starts his own training centre
ISLINGTON’S answer to Alan Sugar left school at 15 with no qualifications – but now heads up a multi-million pound business.
Kevin McLoughlin owes his success to the four-year apprenticeship he did as a teenager – and is calling on the Government to make it compulsory for all construction firms to take on apprentices.
His own business, K&M McLoughlin – now one of the largest painting and decorating companies in London – has trained more than 60 apprentices over the past 12 years.
And it has just has opened a decorating school for budding workmen at its premises in Essex Road, Islington.
Father-of-five Mr McLoughlin, 53, said: “The Government has recognised that all these kids are unemployed now because there are no jobs. But they are not encouraging businesses to train more people.
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“The colleges are full of kids who are doing their training but who are not going to get a job. The Government needs to make it mandatory for every building company to take on trainees.”
Mr McLoughlin was born and brought up in Collier Street, King’s Cross, as part of a household where neither parent worked.
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He attended Winton Primary School in Killick Street and the former Saint William of York Secondary School in Gifford Street, but left with no O-levels.
Yet he completed a four-year painting and decorating apprenticeship – and by his 20s, was ready to strike out on his own, founding K&M McLoughlin in 1987.
The firm now has an annual turnover of around �6million with clients such The Savoy Hotel, the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (formerly the Midland Grand), and the aquatics centre at the Olympic Park in Stratford.
And of its 120-odd employees, around 25 per cent have come through its apprenticeship scheme.
This week, K&M McLoughlin launched its decorating school – a two-bedroom flat where the company’s apprentices will be able to practise every type of decorating.
Mr McLoughlin said: “Everyone’s perception is that children are no good. But that’s how you learn – on the job.
“Painting and decorating is a craft. You need to learn to work clean, fast and efficiently.
“Would you go to a hospital where none of the people were trained? Would you employ an architect who wasn’t trained?
“You can learn painting and decorating by trial and error, but if I took on people like that, I would go out of business.”