Ebsford Environmental saw their annual turnover of £50,000 in the first year grow to £3 million.
Their commitment to apprenticeships ensures 20% of staff at the firm are on, or have completed an apprenticeship with Ebsford. Last year, they won Unilever’s Small Employer of the Year at the National Apprenticeship Awards and were also named in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer list.
Speaking to HR Grapevine, Hartley explains how they have integrated a thorough learning and development strategy which aims to impact both the business and community.
“Apprenticeships are a vital part of the way Ebsford operates and we believe it is integral to the success of the business,” he says. “We bid for local authority work – and we build our apprenticeship commitment into these bids. It’s not just about apprentices assisting us with work but about improving community engagement – we are finding more businesses are asking for organisations who have a track record in offering apprenticeships.”
The firm’s apprentice program began in 2011 and since then, seven of the firms’ 29 staff are, or have been through apprenticeships with the business - occupying roles within marketing, customer services, administration and environmental conservation.
“We believe apprenticeships are one of the best and most rewarding ways of finding staff,” Hartley elaborates. “You are changing people’s lives in a way that you don’t get just by giving someone a job. As a business owner, you have the opportunity to help young people at a crucial stage in their development, especially in socially deprived areas. Doing this is a fascinating way to grow the business.”