We recently awarded the first graduates of our new sales development programme, which provides new skills to Graduate Sales Personnel as well as External Sales teams, to further strengthen our recently restructured National Sales function.

The programme is accredited by the Institute of Sales Management (ISM) as an Essential Foundations of Sales Management programme, allowing two individuals from our annual graduate sales intake to showcase their fantastic commercial achievements.

The scheme has been introduced as part of our ongoing commitment to training and development; the programme is the latest initiative we've taken on board with the aim of developing skills in-house, as well as providing additional training and support through mentoring. The scheme offers a more comprehensive understanding of how we work on an operational level, allowing graduates to monitor and grow sales organically through a deeper understading of KPIs.

The 12-month training programme is fast-paced and aims to support talented individuals in achieving a role in Sales Account Management further down the line. Participants this year were given hands-on experience of Howarth Timber's operational structure, working in departments including health & safety, IT, customer service and project management, as well as using resources such as e-learning.

Success within the programme was measured by various means, including commercial results and return on investment. At the end of the programme, results were presented to a panel consisting of some of our senior managers, as well as guests including Dave Millichap from the ISM and Tony Hogan from Perfect Vision, which delivers training programmes to businesses.

Participants Joshua Chaplin and Tom Woodcock presented profit and growth margins which had exceeded original targets and were endorsed by the panel. It was fantastic to see Josh and Tom's enthusiasm and motivation to grow professionally. We look forward to seeing how they utilise their new skills in their roles over the coming years, and we know they're destined for a great future within the business!