As an ex-apprentice myself, I’ve always been very keen to add new members of staff to the business through the apprenticeship programme.
Over the years, KC Communications has welcomed several apprentices looking to get started in their careers to the business, and we’ve helped them on their way to thrive. Although, more recently we’ve gone about utilising apprenticeships in a slightly different way.
Late last year, we were recruiting for an individual to join us in an entry-level position, but they still had to be able to tick many boxes. We interviewed University of Huddersfield photography graduate, Hollie, who demonstrated she had the right mindset and creative eye that would benefit the business and its clients, but lacked the marketing knowledge required to work on client projects.
Hollie is the first apprentice we have recruited with a degree, although historically we’ve welcomed individuals fresh from school or college. And while industry experience is indeed great, what needs to come across is passion, confidence and ambition to even move to the second interview stage. Although Hollie was educated to degree level, there was a knowledge gap we needed to fill. Hence, we explored how we could provide the relevant training to support her career journey and enable her to get stuck in with day to day tasks.
Just three months into her role, Hollie demonstrates an eagerness to get stuck in and certainly makes life easier when it comes to scheduling social media content, for example, enabling those at a senior level to focus on strategic activity. She does a lot more than this though and certainly isn’t just given the tasks others would prefer not to do.
Her creative eye has helped to enhance the visual content we are creating for clients, and just recently she edited video footage from a smartphone, adding in subtitles and visual prompts for a client. She turned this around in minimal time, with the client expressing extremely positive feedback in regards to turnaround time and quality.
At the time of writing, Hollie is beginning to undertake more face to face activity with clients, including new business meetings and is taking on more responsibility. Right now, she’s learning Digital Marketing Business Principles with her training provider, so we’re looking forward to seeing what knowledge she brings back and how she puts that into practice.
While apprenticeships are a great way to bring new people into the business, in particular, those starting in their careers, they are also a great way to upskill existing members of staff, and it is certainly something that we as a business will look to explore moving forward.
For those looking to take on an apprentice my top tips would be as follows;
• Identify your non-negotiables. In particular, what type of behaviours do you want to see from your new apprentice?
• Be clear on what tasks you need the apprentice to undertake and what their progression route might look like (you will get more out of an apprentice if there are clear opportunities for them post qualification).
• Set a clear induction plan. We plan out a ‘First Four Weeks’ timetable to help our apprentices settle in and to enable them to get a grasp of the tasks they’ll be undertaking.
• Allow them time during the working week to work on their apprenticeship portfolio
• Regularly check in with them, and their apprenticeship tutor as to their progression to identify where they need more support. Still, just as importantly where they are excelling so, you can expand the range of tasks they are involved.
• If you can, keep them in the business. The time they’ve spent out undertaking their learning will be paid back and then some!
If you would like to see Hollie's first impressions of her apprenticeship with KC communications you can follow the link here https://www.kccomms.co.uk/diary-of-an-apprentice-chapter-1/
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