Apprentices: The missing piece to your business’s puzzle

Apprentices: The missing piece to your business’s puzzle

New blood is exciting for every business, not just establishments run by vampires, and apprentices are the shining example of an injection of new ideas and endless potential.

Here at Ensign, we have four full-time employees who originally joined our journey as fresh-faced apprentices, as well as two who are currently learning their craft (one of them being me).

Does the thought of hiring someone who has no experience in the specific job role keep you up at night with a cold sweat? Well firstly, relax, and quite frankly that’s a bit of an overreaction. Secondly, an apprentice has a lot more to offer than you might initially think. By the time you have finished reading this article, you will see what you’re currently missing (and how you could be £4,000 better off thanks to an apprentice).

 

Meet the (ex) apprentices

Sitting down with each of the guys who have worked on £4.30 an hour and lived to tell the tale, they spoke about what they learned during their course, how it benefits them in their role today and why they wanted to complete an apprenticeship in the first place

Completing his level 3 IT technician course at the beginning of this year, Isaac is the latest addition to our support team. He now confidently assists our clients with any queries they have regarding our software take-off and estimation software.

“I wanted to further my education on the subject of IT whilst being able to get to grips with the reality of the workplace environment. On top of the real-world experience, it gave me the perfect opportunity to improve my current skill set whilst also learning new skills that help me to efficiently do my job today.”

“If I had to give one piece of advice to anyone else currently considering carrying out an apprenticeship, it would be to ask as many questions as humanly possible. Your priority whilst on the job is to learn so  it’s key to use the others around you who possess years of experience to help you get as much out of each day as possible.”

Similar to Isaac, Harry also completed his level 3 IT technician course and has now been a full-time member of our support team here at Ensign since 2018.

“One of the biggest benefits of completing an apprenticeship is the qualification you receive upon completion, this helps a lot in terms of getting a foothold in the job market you are interested in. On top of that, there is always the possibility of a career lined up for you after the apprenticeship has concluded, which was what fortunately happened to me!”

“The pros definitely outweigh the cons when it comes to the apprenticeships. If you are looking to earn some money on the side and get a good education then an apprenticeship is spot on for you.”

Since 2019 Scott has been full-time at Ensign after completing his level 3 IT apprenticeship and now works as a fundamental part of the data team.

“My apprenticeship enabled me to learn from people that are established in the industry, studying towards a recognised qualification and while doing all of this being able to take the first steps to independence.”

“For people who are coming directly from college, as I did, an apprenticeship is a great way to get a foot in the door of your desired industry as well as gaining invaluable, relevant skills for the rest of your working life.”

 

Why I love my apprenticeship

As someone who is currently completing an apprenticeship, I can wholeheartedly say it is the best route to start a career. A big reason for this is the fact that we live in a time when, even though every job requires 2 years’ experience, the majority of employers aren’t willing to give people said experience.

I am now in a role in which I am learning the theory side through my course work, set by the agency, and then putting this new knowledge into practice in the workplace. Being surrounded by an experienced team (who are all delightful may I add) means that all 200 hundred questions I ask a day are met with genuinely insightful answers that will help me to develop as a professional.

I joined Ensign with very little knowledge of what Digital Marketing entailed but now I am being paid to learn it. After all, people always say that every day is a school day, but the difference when doing an apprenticeship is, I’m being paid to wake up before 7 am.

 

Why Ensign loves apprentices

Apprenticeships are not only beneficial for the apprentice, but also for the business too (otherwise we wouldn’t have so many). Gemma Mansfield, General Manager, touched on why we often prefer to hire an apprentice over someone with existing experience:

“We believe it’s more down to the person’s attitude and behaviors towards work than specific skills. Skills can be taught to any individual that has the right attitude. With an apprentice, we are able to mold the individual to how we would like them to be as opposed to a more experienced person who may be stuck in their own ways.”

 

Why you should love them too

Our team wouldn’t be the same without our apprentices. First of all, our McDonald’s orders would be much smaller. Secondly, we’d be missing out on a great way to add fresh talent into the business.

But that’s not only true for Ensign; all the same, advantages can apply to almost any business.

The key benefits the business receives from taking on board an apprentice, as identified by Gemma, include…

  • Injecting youthful energy into the company
  • Bridging the skills gap
  • Building a committed workforce
  • Introducing a fresh perspective
  • Extra incentives for funding

I’m not saying sack your entire team of experienced employees and replace them with a bunch of 18- year-olds who have no idea what they’re doing. What I am saying is that the introduction of apprentices into your current setup could make a world of difference. Even those who have been in the industry for twenty or more years could benefit from someone who is looking into their world for the first time.

 

If you build it (use an apprenticeship agency), they will come

There are a plethora of apprenticeship agencies out there that do 90% of the leg work when it comes to finding the ideal candidate. From advertising the job role, reviewing CVs, and holding initial interviews, the likelihood of finding who you’re looking for is substantial.

As well as carrying out the majority of the vetting process, the agency will also be a helping hand when it comes to training the individual to help them gain a better understating of their role and the industry they have joined. Regular sessions with their learning tutor as well as coursework weeks mean the apprentice’s learning is split between you and the agency. This means you don’t have to worry about losing one of your managers because they’ve effectively become full-time babysitters.

 

Free money

The icing on the cake, the Pièce De Résistance if you will, is that up until the end of January (2022) you can claim up to £3,000 for hiring an apprentice. What’s that, free money? For hiring someone who is young, hungry, and driven, with the potential to take your business to the next level? I’m aware it sounds like a scam but trust me, it’s on the government’s website and everything:

https://www.gov.uk/employing-an-apprentice/get-funding

We at Ensign have very much reaped the benefits of hiring apprentices. They have gone on to become fundamental components of our team and we have no doubt that future individuals will take the same route into our family and have an equally outstanding impact. If you have ever considered taking on board an apprentice or two, now’s the time.

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