PA Apprentice Gives Directors a Time Boost

OneFile saw an upturn in productivity after the appointment of a new PA apprentice in July 2014.

OnefileBy offloading a number of administrative tasks, the two business owner/directors have managed to regain 40% of their valuable time.

For most directors, time-consuming admin tasks are unavoidable, they come with the job. At OneFile, the directors, Chris Whalley and Susanna Lawson, felt they were being bogged down by tasks that were taking up a lot of time but not helping them to grow.

This included tasks such as booking travel, arranging meetings, minute taking, producing reports and taking non-urgent calls. Things were made all the more difficult by the fact that both directors were often out of the office at meetings across the UK.

Accommodation and travel expenses would also eat into budgets as they were unable to spend time on getting the best deal when they were on the road.

Furthermore, many admin duties took up valuable hours that could otherwise be spent on more strategic matters including developing the business.

All this changed a few months ago when PA apprentice, Annesa Mariyam, joined the OneFile team.

The former Oldham Sixth Form student had planned to go to university and had achieved three B grades at A Level. Unsure of what course to pursue, her career path changed after a visit from The Apprentice Academy on their annual Milk Round recruitment drive.

A PA Apprenticeship appealed to Annesa, as it was a varied and responsible position crucial to the organisation. The fact that she had chosen to follow this route as a career was a big attraction to OneFile.

A good call as it didn’t take Annesa long to make a big impression and for her work to make a significant impact on the business.

Compatibility was a major factor in the selection process for OneFile, as this was such a crucial supportive role, where she would be working very closely with the directors and other senior managerial staff.

When they first met Annesa, they knew straight away that she was right for the business.

The Induction

The first month was spent getting to know the company, including spending time with each team so that she had a good understanding of the business, its operations and its people.

Annesa’s role is varied but responsibilities include organising meetings for directors and ensuring they are well prepared, booking appointments, producing documents, briefing papers, presentations and reports, taking minutes during meetings, arranging travel and accommodation, dealing with incoming phone calls, email and post, liaising with clients, suppliers and other staff, and |consolidating accounts.

Annesa OneFile

The best thing you will do…

Since having a PA Apprentice Susanna has estimated that 40% of the directors’ time has been saved.

“Appointing Annesa has been an excellent decision. We had considered bringing in an executive PA but felt that we didn’t necessarily need that level of support and we’re glad we didn’t.“

“By joining as an apprentice, Annesa has learnt the ropes from the ground up and she’s been a real asset to the business. Her skill base and confidence are growing by the day.”

“Before Annesa was on board, a business owner friend had stressed the value of a PA and she couldn’t be more right. It’s something you don’t get round to do but when you do, you just don’t know how you coped before.”

“My advice…make a list of jobs clearly not on your job description and hand them over to a PA apprentice, it’s the best thing you will do!”

Annesa’s role has evolved over time and she is assisting other parts of the business, including the customer support team. She has a dedicated line manager, who is not a director, to support her and monitor ongoing performance.

Annesa comments:

“This is my first job after sixth form and I didn’t know what to expect at first. But the whole experience has been amazing and really positive every step of the way.

“I feel that I’ve grown in confidence and experience, and am now contributing much more to the business, which is very exciting.”

“The fact that it’s a great company with great people is a bonus and makes the experience that much better. Doing an Apprenticeship was definitely the right decision and I have absolutely no regrets.”