NAW 2016 – 14th – 18th March 2016
As you may be aware it is currently National Apprenticeship Week, we are proud to employ, train and empower apprentices. Curtis, our Repair Manager and longest standing full time employee started out as an apprentice in 2012. 50% of our team is made up of current or former apprentices. We find apprentices are great as the work we do is very specialist and it is not easy to find technicians with the exact qualifications, experience or knowledge, therefore the training/learning element of an apprenticeship is perfectly suited. For apprentices we offer training in skills that they will not be able to easily acquire elsewhere.
With all this in mind, we thought that we would give you an insight into how we have found the apprenticeship process. This might be especially useful for prospective employers thinking about taking on an apprentice or young people considering this as a career option.
Employer: James Pink (Company Director)
Why do you employ apprentices?
At illPod we pride ourselves on both the quality and technical knowledge of our repair technicians. When I first started to look for technicians, I found most were lacking the knowledge and/or skill. For this reason, I looked into apprenticeship schemes in the hope that this would allow us to train our own technicians to our exacting requirements. The cost benefit of the apprentice wage helps to offset the time and costs incurred in training an apprentice. However do not be under the illusion that you are getting cheap labour – apprentices are usually school leavers who need lots of training, mentoring and guidance to get them up to the same level as an experienced applicant.
3 important lessons you learnt from hiring and training apprentices
- Training will take a long time. Show confidence in your candidates to help keep them motivated through what may be a steep learning curve.
- Assume no pre-existing knowledge – including common sense and problem solving skills.
- If you put the time and effort into finding the right candidate and offering invaluable training that they will not be able to get anywhere else, you will be rewarded with hardworking, brilliantly trained employees who you will want to keep in your organisation for years to come.
3 best things about having an apprentice on your team
- Enthusiasm, passion for the role and desire to learn new things
- Invariably eager to please both customers and management alike
- Willing to put in the extra effort required to make sure they are up to speed.
3 worst things about having an apprentice on your team
- They NEVER do the work that the college tutor sets, on time.
- You will probably lose 50% of apprentices in the first 3 months – Often, on taking the job and doing the role everyday, they may realise it’s not for them.
- Sometimes an over-eagerness to please, coupled with inexperience can lead to mistakes, mishaps or unrealistic promises.
Would you recommend hiring apprentices?
Yes, but it will not suit every business. It will depend on your organisation requirements and what you are looking to get from an apprentice and of course, what you have to offer.
Former Apprentice: Curtis Marriott (Repair Manager)
Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
I decided to do an apprenticeship because it is a good way to start a career.
What were 3 most important lessons you learnt whilst doing your apprenticeship?
- Skills and attributes for working in a workplace.
- How to deal with customer care.
- How to work as part of a team and understand hierarchy
What were the 3 best things about doing an apprenticeship?
- Paid to learn
- Learning new skills
- Industry recognised qualification
What were the 3 worst things about doing an apprenticeship?
- Errand boy
- Completing cleaning tasks
- Dealing with customer concerns
Would you recommend apprenticeships?
I would highly recommend them to anyone, as you gain life skills, also because it gives you one step onto your career ladder.
Current Apprentice: Marcin Brzezinski (Apprentice Mac Technician)
Why did you choose an Apprenticeship?
I chose an apprenticeship because instead of learning just theory like I would in college, I also get the practice relevant to my job.
What are the 3 most important lessons you have learnt in your apprenticeship so far?
- Doing my apprenticeship, I’ve learned how to work as a team. Most of the jobs I do, I have to seek some help from my colleagues and if they need anything from me, I’m always happy to help.
- How to repair apple devices.
- How to organise my workspace and the parts of the device that I’m repairing.
What have been the 3 best things about your apprenticeship so far?
- Responsibility: as it motivates me to work.
- Earn while you learn.
- Getting valuable experience.
What have been the 3 worst things about your apprenticeship so far?
- Tasks that are not related to the position. (but somebody has to do the dirty work…)
- Have to spend more time at work than I would do in college.
- Breaking bad news to customers- not every device is repairable or economically viable to repair.
Would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
I would highly recommend doing an apprenticeship.