Choose your apprenticeship provider carefully, says Recruiter Awards winner

Choosing an apprentice provider you can trust and build a relationship with is a key aspect of a successful apprenticeship programme.

That’s the view of Stephen King, commercial director of coach and bus company Go North East, winner of Best Apprentice/School Leaver Recruitment strategy at the 2017 Recruiter Awards.

Each year the company, one of the North East’s largest private employers, with more than 2,100 employees, takes 10 new apprentices on to its coach engineering and maintenance apprenticeship, chosen from more than 500 applications. Around 90% of Go North East’s current engineering team began their careers as apprentices.

“Apprenticeships are huge financial and resource investments, so it is essential that you have a partner who understands your requirements and can find candidates that are best suited to the roles you have available,” said King.

King emphasised the importance of working closely with your chosen provider – Gateshead College, in the case of Go North East. He said this was essential not only to find the best recruits but to ensure its on the job training and academic programme are fit for purpose, and future-proofed to adapt to changes and trends in the industry. As a result of working collaboratively with their provider, King said organisations can develop a bespoke and flexible scheme tailored to their current and future needs. 

King’s other top tips for a successful apprenticeship scheme are:

  • Make time for your apprentices and recognise that with many likely to be straight out of school and with limited work experience, they will need a lot of support.
    In the case of Go North East, this includes mentoring by senior members of the engineering team. One benefit of a supportive environment is a low drop out rate; another is that apprentices are not afraid to speak up and to ask for help. Since it revamped its apprenticeships in 2014, Go North East has had only two people drop out.
    “Taking time to go through even simple things with your apprentices, such as general housekeeping and admin, will reap benefits in the long run,” added King.
  • • Be sure to embed apprentices your organisation’s culture and empower them to be the best they can be.
    This includes setting out a clear route for career progression. Go North East uses its internal newsletter to keep apprentices informed of what is happening in the business, and its annual company awards includes an Apprentice of the Year category.

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