Apprenticeships - investing in the future
Apprentices are now being recognised and accepted by more and more employers as an important investment for the future of their business. Big companies are either taking them on as new staff or developing existing employees to support them in furthering their careers.
For young apprentices, it’s a chance to earn while they learn and put them ahead in the jobs market. For employers, the advantage of apprentices is their chance to source and attract enthusiastic, energetic people with a fresh outlook in the working world.
We recently caught up with Louise Robinson from Parkside Flexibles to talk about the company’s experience of taking on apprentices from Leeds City College.
Finding the right apprentice for your company can be a challenging task, what would you say has helped with the process since you started taking on apprentices?
The college tutor, Andy Hackett has made the process much smoother than we have experienced previously with other colleges. Andy has kept in regular contact with our apprentice and attended one-to-one reviews with him. Andy also has a catch up with me at the end of every review and keeps me informed on how our apprentice is getting on and what the plans are for the following month.
How many apprentices do you have at present (if any) and what has the journey been like so far? We have two apprentices, however one of these is from a different college. Our print apprentice from Leeds City College has been successful with both practical and academic study. The journey has been relatively smooth and I can honestly say we have not experienced any issues.
The apprenticeship levy has kicked in, what are your views on it and do you think it has beneficial attributes?
My first impression of the levy was ‘another government initiative that will most likely end within a couple of years’. My views have changed now I understand it and I honestly believe it is beneficial to organisations who are hoping to recruit apprentices/develop their employees. I feel it increases skills within the workforce and will help to address skills shortages.
Are you aware of how the apprenticeship levy works?
Although the levy sounded quite complex it is relatively simple once you have ‘got your head around it’. Luckily for me, Theresa Thomas from Leeds City College attended a meeting with me (at my request) to discuss the levy and help me to set it up. This has proved beneficial and helped me to understand it in greater detail. Theresa has been most helpful and always returns my calls and emails.
How long (if applicable) do your current apprenticeship programs run and is there an opportunity for the apprentice to be employed fulltime at the end of it?
Three years and our apprentices will have a full time role at the end.
What are some of the highlights of having an apprentice or apprentices join your organisation?
Seeing their hard work come to fruition. We have had two successful print apprentices from Leeds College over the last five years and we are confident our current one will also be most successful in his career with us. They are our future generation of printers.