Bell Group, which has 28 branches across the UK, has operated in Derby since 2012 – working on the cyclical painting and decorating of the house stock managed by Derby Homes.
Having secured a further five-year contact with the organisation, the company has launched the Bell Decorating Academy and is currently recruiting full time learners based at Derby's Roundhouse campus.
Learners will be offered work experience throughout the year – working on site alongside Bell Group in the area.
Learners will also receive master classes from staff at Bell Group and from suppliers who will give tutorials about working with different products.
Bell Group's National Community Investment Manager Anna Higham explained: "We have worked closely with Derby College over the years to recruit apprentices and jumped at the chance to have greater input to help ensure full time learners are work-ready with the employable skills that we really value.
"Nationally, there are widespread skills gaps in the painting and decorating trade and we face the same issues with a large proportion of our skilled workforce nearing retirement or being promoted to non-trade positions in the company.
"It is therefore vital that we invest in the future workforce and the Derby College Employer Academy model is an innovative way of bringing employers in closer contact with young people to help mould them into tomorrow's employees.
"We believe the Academy will help close the gap between learning the theory or a trade and working on site, and will better prepare young people for the world of work. By working together we hope the Academy will prove successful in cultivating our next generation of employees.
"We are very excited about the opportunities and potential of the Employer Academy and hope to replicate this at our branches across the UK in the very near future."
April Hayhurst, Derby College's Deputy Principal – Employer and Economic Affairs, concluded: "Construction is a growth industry and a D2N2 priority and we now have every aspect of the industry catered for through our innovative Employer Academy programme to ensure that young people have the skills that businesses need in this area.
"We already work alongside Derby-based construction company MBS and Atlas Groundworks to support learners on a range of Construction trade programmes and with a broad spectrum of employers involved in the professional construction industry so we are delighted that ell Group has joined this programme.
"These companies recognise that the Employer Academy programme is an important way of developing curriculum programmes that deliver the skills they need in their own workforce.
"It also provides them with a potential pipeline of future employees and apprentices and employees to address skills shortages that many are facing.
"Our aim is therefore simple: to help smooth the transition from education to employment and with that, fill skills gaps in key industries across the city and region."