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9th February 2021

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we asked a number of employers we work with to give their take on apprenticeships, and share positive stories on the impact they have had on their business.

  • What are the advantages of taking on an apprentice?

Sewell Group: “By taking on an individual with little or no skill or experience in their chosen subject, we have the opportunity to impart on them the wisdom of our very best team members, who have spent years perfecting their craft. We can shape and mould them to suit the needs of our business, and the portfolio of schemes that we work on, all whilst immersing them in our culture. In addition, it is beneficial to our existing, qualified employees, who relish the opportunity to support our apprentices, which contributes to the strong morale within the team.”

Advanced Steel Detailing Ltd: “The benefits are that you get to mould and train them to suit your systems. For us personally, we can teach them the right way and that will stand the employee in good stead for life. There is a bond between employer and employee that brings extra drive and determination to succeed and this also brings a level of loyalty that may not be present with a time served employee. Apprenticeships are a critical part of the continual growth of the sector in which they work bringing through well-trained youth.

Omar Park and Leisure Homes: “For the apprentice, they gain valuable experience of the work environment whilst also training and studying. They learn skills which they will transfer throughout their working life. As an employer, we are able to align their training to help support the needs of the business. Hiring an apprentice also develops strong positive relationships between the employer and local education.”

CMM Contractors Limited: “Apprentices are willing and eager to learn new skills and they don’t possess an ‘I know best’ attitude. It’s also good for the company to have staff that learn on the job as they know our work ethics from the offset.”

The Drain Company (Hull) Ltd: “Knowing that you can share your skills to bring in future employees and train them on how your company works with the hope they will stay with the company after they have finished their apprenticeship. They also pick up skills at the College which if they share with our groundworkers - who we always encourage to be open to new ways - may speed up the way they work and give them some more ideas to think about, develop and work with.”

  • What changes have you seen in your apprentice since he/she started?

Sewell Group: “As Stanley continues to learn and develop, he provides more support to the team, which has increased our productivity, and promotes strong teamwork.”

Advanced Steel Detailing Ltd: “Connor started with a very positive attitude and was eager to learn. Connor has exceeded our expectations picking up the software with ease and he has also learnt things at college that he wouldn’t be taught in the office.”

Omar Park and Leisure Homes: “We have seen positive changes in our apprentices. They have learned and developed their skills whilst buying into the positive culture which we promote at Omar.”

CMM Contractors Limited: “Now they both know our expectations, they have come on massively. With the support of the College, we feel they could go far in their chosen trade.”

The Drain Company (Hull) Ltd: “The apprentice was quite shy to start with but is now more open and is learning lots. He was buddied up with our groundwork supervisor, who has a vast amount of knowledge, and he has said that the apprentice now has a very good understanding of what to do and how to do it. His quality of work is good and tidy and that’s how we want our customers to see us work so we always encourage this.”

  • Do you feel as though your experience of gaining an apprentice throughout the COVID-19 pandemic was a positive one?

Sewell Group: “Stanley joined us prior to the pandemic, but the relationship we have with both him and the college is very positive.”

Advanced Steel Detailing Ltd: “Absolutely! It also gave other staff in the office a lift too, which is always welcome.”

Omar Park and Leisure Homes: “Although we haven’t actively hired apprentices during the pandemic, we have considered this and when required have received great support from Hull College. If and when we are in a position to recruit, we feel we would be able to recruit the right candidates with help from the College.”

CMM Contractors Limited: “Yes, in terms of their attitude to work as it feels like they are more grateful to have the opportunity under the current climate.”

The Drain Company (Hull) Ltd: “Yes it was. We were unsure about how this would work but we undertook interviews on zoom and was happy with this. We then made a provisional offer with a trial period, which allowed us time to get to know the apprentice and work out if he would suit our company. We were always encouraged by the Collage consultant to continue to recruit during COVID-19 and was given clear instructions on how to approach this.”

  • Do you have any tips for anyone thinking of applying for an apprenticeship?

Sewell Group: “Do your research and find a vocation which you are interested in. There are so many different apprenticeships available, so speaking to the College will help you to better understand your options. When you are applying for apprenticeship roles, the employer will want to know that you have a genuine interest in that subject. Make sure to explain why you want to begin an apprenticeship, why you are so interested in that specific career path, and what you want to achieve in the future. A cover letter is a great way to do this!”

Advanced Steel Detailing Ltd: “Approach your interview with confidence, enthusiasm and also show that you have researched the business you are applying to join.”

Omar Park and Leisure Homes: “Remember that it is a big commitment, ensure the trade/profession that you are applying for is something that you are passionate about and would like to do long term. As well as the skills, you need the correct attitude in order to get the most out of your apprenticeship and your career.”

CMM Contractors Limited: “Don’t have your parents ring up for you! It was a common event when we advertised for the posts. You are about to enter an adult working environment and this doesn’t make a great first impression. Apply for something you have a genuine interest in, we had one apprentice leave within a few weeks and we could tell from the start he had no interest in his chosen trade. Also - be confident and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The worst thing you can do is try and blend into the background.”

The Drain Company (Hull) Ltd: “The biggest tip is to just do it. It’s a great way for the younger generation to learn.”

If you would like to speak to a member of our HCUK Training team about apprenticeships, you can contact them on 0300 330 2010, or email them at apprenticeships@hcuktraining.co.uk.