Wed 25 / 02 / 15
Why take on an apprentice?
"It’s a bit of no-brainer when you think about taking on an apprentice, the opportunity to get an exta pair of hands at an extremely cost effective salary – as a business owner with not enough time on her hands, it seemed like a win win to me.
We'd been thinking about taking on an apprentice for a long while, one of the directors of the business had been an apprentice at the start of his career, so he was a really big advocate of the apprenticship scheme. But we’d never had the right role. However after the introduction of our new website we found we just didn’t have the time to update it and participate in social media as we wanted to...so suddenly we had a role that would be suitable for an apprentice.
When we started the process of thinking about an apprentice I approached like I would any other job – we wrote a very thorough job description, and then looked at it and discussed it with Creative Process (the company we got our apprentice through) to make sure I wasn’t expecting too much.
I saw 5 candidates, one which was outstanding (who we took on), one who was almost as good that I recommended to another couple of companies and 3 who weren’t so great. Probably the one thing I did different to normal interviews was that I took the time to provide detailed feedback on the 3 candidates which weren’t great. I think that if you are looking to get an apprentice you have a responsibility to remember these are people at the very beginning of their career and they are nervous and not so used to interviewing so if there is something you can do to help improve their chances in the future you should do it.
So here are some top tips for getting a really good apprentice:
1. Pay more than the minimum
It’s like any role, if you only offer the base salary you’ll only attract certain candidates – if you are prepared to pay a little bit more, the better candidates will look at your role.
2. Have everything ready to go
Once we’d decided to do this, everything moved very quickly. I think from interviewing to start date was only about a week.
3. Dream big
Prepare a job description but make sure it’s got some really interesting things within the role, these kids are bright and can achieve a hell of a lot given the right opportunity
4. Remember they only work 4 days a week
Every Thursday is college day, so I make it a rule – no work on a Thursday except college, they need to come out with a qualification so you need to give them time to do that. Also you’ll need to make time for an assessor to come in once a month, so that eats up time as well.
We are now 3 months into employing an apprentice and it’s been one of the best business decisions that we’ve ever made. By having someone purely dedicated to managing our social media we’ve made connections and grown our online audience significantly. Our website is regularly updated, and suddenly all the marketing ideas we’ve have planned are actually happening. Don’t get me wrong our apprentice is outstanding (I’m not releasing her name for fear of her being poached), but we’ve also needed to put aside the time to put together some very comprehensive plans to make sure we get the full benefit. There is more supervision required particularly at the beginning but taking on an apprentice is a great business decision and one I will definitely be doing again in the future."
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