The Inside Track on Apprenticeships
If you’re an apprentice employer you’re five times more likely to expand your business. That’s according to research released to mark National Apprentice week. Apprenticeship participation now stands at a record level with 871,800 funded apprenticeships recorded in England for the 2014 to 2015 academic year. At Businesscomparison.com, we’ve experienced the benefits first-hand. So is the scheme mutually beneficial? Read on to discover more from Head of Businesscomparison.com Philip Brennan, apprentice consultancy The Juice Academy and Social Media and Digital Marketing apprentice Kareema Ali.
What made you decide to employ an apprentice?
As a start-up company we had a number of positions to fill, one of which was for someone to work on our social media and digital marketing. We’re a small team at Businesscomparison.com so we felt that we were perfectly suited to supporting an apprentice. Kareema has been able to spend time learning about different aspects of the business and has really developed her skillset. We contacted the Juice academy and interviewed a number of candidates. Kareema impressed us and has continued to do so ever since.
Is taking on an apprentice a risk for employers?
When you’re a small or medium sized business taking on any member of staff is a big commitment, however I wouldn’t say that taking on an apprentice is a risk. You are able to interview candidates as you would for any job to make sure you find an individual who is suited to both the position and your business. I would stress that it’s important to be well enough resourced to support the apprentice in their experience and learning – gone are the days when apprentices should be expected to make tea and tidy the office! There are a lot of very talented apprentices with a range of skills to offer employers. University is no longer seen as the only step towards a career.
Have you learnt anything from taking on an apprentice?
Yes! I’ve learnt that apprentices can be a very positive resource for small businesses. It is also helpful to have someone looking at things from a new perspective not tinted by previous work experience of how “things should be.”
Facilitator, The Juice Academy
What does The Juice Academy do to support apprentices?
The Juice Academy is first and foremost a job creation initiative, identifying budding social media talent and pairing them with businesses. The Academy provides training delivered by practicing industry professionals, however, apprentices are also taught skills above and beyond digital theory. This includes resilience training and time management to ensure they are well-rounded professionals.
What makes a great apprentice?
There’s no ‘one-type fits all’ approach for being a great apprentice – they’re all individual, with many differing strengths. We work with a huge variety of businesses and that, in turn, demands a great variety of apprentices. What we look for is a passion for social media, bags of enthusiasm and ambition to start a career in the industry.
How can taking on apprentices benefit small and medium sized businesses?
Apprentices bring diversity, energy, enthusiasm and a fresh approach to the workforce – things which every quality business constantly strives to achieve from and for its team and its future.
When it comes to digital and social media, the marketing industry has seen an increased demand for skilled talent, of which there is limited resource. Having an ambitious and social media savvy apprentice at the forefront of their communication strategies can help businesses to flourish.
Social Media and Marketing apprentice – Kareema Ali
What made you decide to apply to become an apprentice?
I left school not entirely knowing what I wanted to do, I had the plan that I would go to university but, I honestly had no idea what I wanted to study! I first discovered The Juice Academy through a friend of mine who is a journalist who had an idea of what I wanted to do. When I was contacted and offered an interview by Businesscomparison.com I still had my doubts about actually becoming an apprentice but the more I researched I actually found myself eager to start! Once I was offered the job I realised how beneficial doing an apprenticeship would be and I now I know! My apprenticeship is in social media and digital marketing which is one of the biggest factors of my generation as it is everywhere. Some say that we live and breathe social media so ending up with a qualification out of it is even better!
How have you found the experience?
Extremely positive! With an apprenticeship you are able to learn, earn and grow at the same time! The trio really sets you up for the future because not only will you have a qualification at the end of it you will also have a years’ worth of on the job experience. Being an apprentice is not like being a student on placement – you are seen as a full time worker and a part of the business itself!
What piece of advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship?
I would advise anyone thinking about becoming an apprentice to research and go to any opportunity available to learn about them. Apprenticeships have changed and now there is literally one for every job role. Don’t hesitate! Becoming an apprentice is the perfect mixture of learning and working. You are able to learn, gain experience, mature and earn a healthy wage. When you become an apprentice you begin your future which has already kick-started!