When it came to the point of expanding our company we didn’t look much further than the apprenticeship scheme. I’m not sure what triggered this route but it just seemed to fit with our approach to work.
Both Scott and myself started at a publishing company that had everything under one roof and we were expected to help out wherever needed. We came into the industry with no prior experience or qualifications in design, it was a skill we had to learn on the job and quickly.
Scott was taught by his first manager, and when I joined he passed all his wisdom down to me! I guess in some way this was our apprenticeship, we didn’t gain any qualifications or certificates but what we gained in those first couple of years put us where we are today.
We spoke with our local college at North Herts, they sent someone out to us to help find the right course that would fit with our business. They also ran us through what to expect from the process and what changes we might need to make to meet the correct laws on employment. We are also part of the FSB and Chamber of Commerce, both offering fantastic courses and lectures on the huge benefits an apprenticeship scheme can offer to smaller companies.
The more we learnt about the scheme and the type of courses that were taught we realised it was definitely something we wanted to be involved in. We did have concerns regarding having a young person in such a small office, having to manage the ‘boss/colleague’ relationship, but if you work at it, good things will come your way. Plus after our first year the college arranged for both of us to attend a mentoring course, finally we gained a qualification and certificates!
Not only will you build loyalty through your mentoring but you will also gain an understanding of the areas in which your new employee can help move your company forward. We’ve been fortunate with the apprentices that we’ve employed, our first apprentice moved on to an area of the design industry in which he’s doing really well, our second apprentice we’ve brought into the company as a full time employee and he’s approaching his first full year since passing his apprenticeship. Both brought new ideas while adding skills to areas of the industry in which we want to expand.
We’re huge advocates of the scheme as you can probably tell, we know that further education isn’t for everybody and that like ourselves sometimes you need a chance in the ‘real world’ and have someone to believe in you and pass on their knowledge and skills.
If you’re thinking about employing a young person in your company, whether you’re a global business or just starting out and you want to expand further, I think you should look no further than your local college, the right person is out there maybe you need to help them along that career path.
If you’ve read this and feel the scheme could benefit you and your business but aren’t quite sure where to start, I’m always happy to chat about how we went about it and the things we learned along the way, so feel free to get in touch.
• Interested in apprenticeships? Here’s where we went: North Herts College