Is an apprentice right for my business?
February 22, 2016
When people ask me about recruitment I often advise them to consider employing an apprentice, if the role was suitable of course.
Although you might think I’m only saying that because I own part of an apprenticeship and training business, I can assure you this was my belief well before I became involved as a director at Starting Off.
My first dealings with Starting Off were as the sales director at a local business. At the time we were part way through a recession, so every agenda included overheads and cost control. If I’m honest with you, that was one of my original drivers. Hiring apprentices was a competitive and low risk way to get staff back into the business to help with growth.
What happened next amazed me. The introduction of apprentices injected new life into the business, with young spirit and energy that was fresh and a delight to be around. New careers were started, generating a positive atmosphere within the business.
The management team would always comment on how quickly the apprentices pick things up; “they’re like sponges” is a common phrase that comes to mind. We got instant buy-in from the team and quickly introduced apprentices to various departments within the business.
While I was at the company we had thirteen apprentices in total. One didn’t work out for a number of reasons but even taking that into consideration, it was clearly a fantastic success. A strategy that I know the business continues with today.
You may have to adjust your approach slightly. You have to remember that many of them will have come straight from school, so they need to adjust to working within a team. They will need to be shown how to do the job. They will learn quickly once shown but it will all be new to them, you cannot expect them to have the intuition to teach themselves. I heard a funny story the other day where an apprentice was asked to fax something, their reply was “What is a fax?”.
An office will be totally alien to them on day one, so some things you don’t normally have to explain will need to be covered. Make sure they get looked after in their first weeks, as the modern technology skills and enthusiasm they will bring will be well worth it.
Whether you’ve had apprentices before, or would like to discuss introducing them into your business I would strongly recommend you speak to one of the Starting Off team on 01604 622855 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Dan Harding