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Have a ‘Grow your own’ culture

5 steps to building a sustainable global business-1

(Article 3 of 5 in: Five steps to building a sustainable global business)

My personal view is that training and development is not a cost, it is an investment.

Sometimes this investment benefits your region or your country because you cannot expect to keep every single person that you develop.

Having a ‘Grow your own’ culture is about taking control of a company’s most important resource – the people who make things happen. It’s about ensuring that new recruits share your goals and philosophies, and have the skills and attitudes that drive business success.

The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, recently warned about the dangers of young people being pushed towards meaningless degrees and has praised the apprenticeship route. Since AESSEAL was recognised as the UK's top apprentice employer in the manufacturing sector for 2022, according to the Department of Education's annual rankings, we can hardly disagree.

Here are some highlights of the statistics about AES Engineering I have pulled out for this article.

Starting with AVT Reliability, this is a small part of the group but a fast-growing one that relies on having top-level expertise that simply cannot be found ‘ready-made’ in the marketplace. Of the 67 full-time employees in the UK, 63 have been trained in vibration analysis. One member of staff has VA4 (the very top grade) and three others are undergoing training to this global standard of excellence. We also have numerous AVT staff, both already qualified and undergoing training, in Asset Reliability, Lubrication Analysis, Infrared Thermal Imaging and Ultrasound Analysis – in other words, we have all the skills required for a global reliability company. This is an outstanding record.

Looking at AESSEAL, the 233 apprentices (soon to become 266) taken on by the business from 2017-2023 have cost £5.4 million taking into account external training fees, mentoring, management costs, and the salary cost for day release training. Since we spend millions more on other development, a top-level apprenticeship programme is just part of the story.

AESSEAL plc is accredited by the IMechE to operate an MPDS scheme to train and develop engineers from technician level to Chartered Engineer status. Of the 516 employees in AESSEAL plc (just over one-third of the Group total), 161 are engineers (HNC, HND, and above) and 7 of the 8 Chartered Engineers have been through the MPDS scheme.

Since 2010 we have run a Fast Track Management Development programme as a reaction to the perception that ‘it is impossible to hire graduates with the right management skills’. Our process involves taking graduates with high potential to create the business leaders of the future for society or the group. We always expected a high churn as we were the first employer. The mentoring/oversight is a semi-formal best practice sharing weekly event every Friday afternoon about 1 hour long and is led by myself as Group managing director.

Two of the “graduates” from the programme are group company directors, one of a £30 million and one of a £75 million business, but one of our original apprentices has also been appointed as a director of a group company.

What does this mean? We don’t have a skills shortage and we are growing our own in order to ensure that we will be able be continue delivering and can reach our Big Hairy Audacious Goal:

“To become the leading global reliability business, delivering solutions to help industry save water, energy, cut pollution, and create a better world”.

As I said at the beginning, training, and development is an investment. Sometimes this investment benefits your region or your country, because you cannot expect to keep every single person that you develop. But then, sometimes they come back, and even if they don’t a business should be happy that it has at least helped to ‘raise the bar’. Especially, if they have raised the bar for sustainability.

We cannot always be takers, sometimes we need to be givers.

Check out some of our selection of video case studies and challenge AESSEAL and AVT Reliability to deliver such exceptional service that you “need never seek another source of supply”.

Also, read case studies from other companies on Betterworld.Solutions and think about your own investment policy to prioritize the environment.

Take a look at our case studies:

Link to the training document (link to be established)

New BHAG for new era


Over a series of weeks, I will be publishing articles outlining how a sustainable business can also be a successful business. See below the articles shared, outlining the five steps to sustainability:

  1. Have a higher goal
  2. Understand reliability and your environmental impact
  3. Have a ‘Grow your own’ culture
  4. The power of trust
  5. Deliver solutions

If you are interested in AES Engineering’s story or want to get some ideas about how to promote sustainability, follow me on LinkedIn and follow Betterworld

Visit our websites:

#sustainability #sustainable #sustainablebusiness #netzero


If enough businesses act, together we can slow down or help to prevent Global Warming.

A Summary of Evidence

We estimate that widespread adoption of more climate-friendly policies in industry globally, could have the equivalent impact of taking 630.5 million cars off the roads.

Real World Examples

Just a few examples where we have the know-how to do things differently and help both the environment and the bottom line.

Create your Policy

The case for a great return on investment, from water and energy savings is very clear. "Adopt an Investment Policy to Prevent Global Warming".