Wolseley develops award-winning talent strategy

Wolseley, one of the UK’s leading trade specialist merchants, uses apprenticeships to develop its people and attract new talent. Find out how its strategy is making it an employer of choice in the sector.

An award-winning, industry-leading approach to people development

When it comes to nurturing talent, Wolseley’s objective is to always provide its people with key development opportunities, so they can build their careers and grow within the business. It’s why in 2020, Wolseley made the decision to refine and evolve its entire L&D strategy.

Wolseley worked to clearly define new development routes, with a strategy that would work company-wide. After reviewing employee surveys, it identified apprenticeships as the perfect solution for building its talent pipeline.

Looking for a training provider that would provide effective, progressive opportunities for its people, it teamed up with Lifetime to deliver apprenticeships across the business.

Fast-forward to 2022, and apprenticeships are now a core part of Wolseley’s training strategy. They complement its internal Talent Booster development programmes, with industry-leading training that’s designed to upskill people in their current roles, but also prepare them for the next step of their careers.

It’s a huge part of what goes into Wolseley’s employer of choice status. Not only has it been recognised as one of 2022’s Top UK Employers, but its commitment to a new strategy is award-winning, named Best Talent Management Strategy 2021 at the HR Excellence Awards.

Apprenticeships designed to unlock Wolseley’s people potential across the company

In a market where specialist colleagues make all the difference, developing their skills is vital. We’ve aligned apprenticeships to Wolseley’s overarching talent strategy to make this happen, creating high potential individuals that are armed with the skills, knowledge and behaviours to excel in their roles.

Currently, there are 104 learners on programme with Lifetime, and they’re in roles across the business. From customer service to project management, business admin, data and warehousing, our programmes are upskilling diverse teams across Wolseley.

Apprenticeships are fully backed by its senior teams, creating a top-down, bottom-up approach to nurturing talent – and one that instils a culture of training. The programmes fit alongside other routes for colleague development, working hard to drive talent across departments and open up opportunities for all.

A “think apprentice-first" recruitment style

Wolseley successfully retains its people. But with high retention, comes an ageing workforce. Now its apprenticeships are set up for success, the programmes will support Wolseley's new ambitions for recruiting younger talent into the business.

It will take its apprenticeship recruitment to the next level, with an attractive talent strategy and a “think apprentice-first" approach to recruiting its people for the future.

As its strategy evolves to reach more people, Lifetime’s apprenticeship recruitment service will support Wolseley, hand-picking the best candidates for roles across the business.

This future-focussed approach is how it will stay an employer of choice, with a sustainable strategy for career progression so its new colleagues stay and grow with the business over time.

Future ambitions for Wolseley’s apprenticeships

Looking forward, Wolseley will build on its award-winning offering to grow its future with internal talent. It will encourage colleagues to consider their development pathways, offering bi-annual performance reviews to uncover the best apprenticeship routes for boosting careers.

With an increase of colleagues opting into a variety of apprenticeships (and the news spreading about their successful completions across the business) its L&D team will continue to expand to meet the growing appetite for apprenticeships and reinforce operations to meet demand.

Through apprenticeships, Wolseley will not only promote its talent internally, but open up new roles that attract fresh talent. By developing colleagues this way, it will begin to see its leaders of the future.



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The aim is to create high potential individuals. Lifetime’s apprenticeships are a critical part of our development strategy to grow our talent pipeline, empowering our teams with the skills needed to succeed.

Jo Shipley, Apprenticeship Lead at Wolseley

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