Not long ago, one of our apprentices created a product that could be worth a million pounds in revenue.
However, I constantly talk to other employers who question the value of apprentices.
I understand: It’s easy to see apprentices as an additional cost since they initially need a lot of guidance. Dedicated mentoring takes resource away from other important projects – costing valuable time and money.
But at UKFast, we see apprentices as the future of our company.
And I mean that quite literally; our Finance Director started out as an apprentice.
As the UK’s leading, independently-owned hosting provider, we’ve experienced double digit growth in recent years.
But in order to keep expanding we needed to recruit more people with the right skills.
We run around 400 educational outreach events annually and we get lots of interest from school leavers and university graduates. They have great skills and potential, however, we still see a gap in digital skills that makes them unprepared for the workplace.
That’s why we created our own apprenticeship scheme.
It’s through this scheme that young people gain the right blend of skills and hands-on experience in order to progress with us.
We built a state-of-the-art education centre. Our programme is accredited to give our apprentices globally recognised exams that are embedded into their apprenticeship programme.
Now 18% of our workforce is made up of apprentices.
How we find apprentices
We work with over 50 schools and almost 60,000 young people in Greater Manchester annually to help improve digital literacy.
Our apprentices lead our coding clubs for primary school children. We also work with girls’ schools to help students learn about STEM careers.
These outreach programmes are an important part of giving back to our community, and many of these students become our best employees.
In fact, 80% of applicants for our apprenticeship scheme have had some prior interaction with us.
Skills for work
In addition to training, we also help our apprentices develop in other ways. There’s a major focus on crucial softer work skills – like confidence and communication. This involves teaching the importance of professional behaviour with clients and how great customer service can give them a competitive edge.
Are apprentices worth it?
A recent survey showed that 89% of employers are struggling to recruit the right people but by thinking of apprentices as an investment, you can shape them to fit your organisation perfectly.
We save an average of £5,000 on recruitment costs per apprentice compared to recruiting a skilled member of staff externally.
Plus, they bring enthusiasm, energy, and a willingness to learn that influences all staff in such a positive way.
Apprentices bring immeasurable value – much more than million-pound ideas.
We offer them cutting-edge training and strong mentorship. In return, we gain fantastic loyalty as well as the exact skills and culture that UKFast needs to thrive.
UKFast was awarded a 2018 Princess Royal Training Award. For more information visit https://www.ukfast.co.uk/apprenticeships.html
If your organisation has a great training or skills development story, apply for an Award in 2019. Entries open until 29 March 2019. For more information visit www.princessroyaltrainingawards.com or click the button below.