Building a Successful Business on Apprentice Talent

Dan Nolan, Managing Director of theEword, is a proud apprentice employer and a passionate advocate of apprenticeships. He comments: “Our success is built on creative and technical excellence of our people and a company culture that emphasises flawless attention to detail and excellence.

“They are hard-working, keen to learn and of course, have the advantage of being open-minded digital natives. We see apprentices as an investment in the company’s future that very quickly adds value to the business.

“In our experience, apprentices can work independently almost immediately which not only improves team productivity but also frees more senior staff to concentrate on complex, higher value tasks. It only takes about 4-6 weeks before apprentices are ready to undertake billable work that brings revenue into the company. That’s why apprentice recruitment will continue to be a factor in our ambitious expansion strategy.”

theEword has had an active relationship with The Apprentice Academy and is now a third generation employer of Digital and Social Media apprentices with five apprentices coming from The Apprentice Academy.

“We’ve had mixed experiences working with different training providers over the years. But The Apprentice Academy’s Digital and Social Media Apprenticeship programme stands out as a smart, cost-effective way of identifying, recruiting, training and, importantly, nurturing a skilled, loyal team who work well together and share the same values.”

Three Generations of Apprenticeship Success

Jordan Southern was the first apprentice to join theEword who attended The Apprentice Academy programme. Jordan is now a Senior Technical SEO Consultant responsible for developing optimisation strategies that drive traffic and increase conversions for clients.

In 2013, The Apprentice Academy introduced Archie Barnett to the company who started on the Social Media and Digital Apprenticeship. Archie has now completed his apprenticeship and has secured a permanent position with theEword working as a Social Media Executive in the PPC (Pay per Click) and Paid Media team.

In summer 2014, significant new business success prompted theEword to yet again expand their apprentice intake.

“The success we’ve had with our previous apprentices, Jordan and Archie, both of whom are now highly-valued members of the team, plus the very positive experience of working with The Apprentice Academy, made the decision to recruit a further three apprentices very easy,” explains Nolan.

“We had a good idea of the areas in which we wanted the apprentices to train which meant we’d be looking for candidates with a number of fairly specific skills and interests. We briefed The Apprentice Academy and, once again, they identified exactly what we wanted. It’s always a pleasure to interview an Apprentice Academy applicant.”

The three latest recruits have been in post since August 2014 and are already making a significant contribution. Jessica Wright is on the Account Management team as a Junior Executive, Mike Evans is in the PPC and Paid Media team, while Alex Hart is focused on Organic Search.

Preparing for success

“The latest intake of apprentices is making great progress. As ever, they have all attended ‘Boot Camp’ and had been well prepared by The Apprentice Academy to make a positive impact from their first day at work. While they’re all very different young people, they each have an admirable amount of energy and the drive to succeed. The Apprentice Academy’s Career Coaches maintain regular contact with the apprentices and are always available to help with any work-related or personal development issues.

“The Apprentice Academy encourages apprentices to use social media to maintain contact with other apprentices they’ve met through The Apprentice Academy. It’s proven very popular with our apprentices who make the most of the opportunity to network and share experiences and support with their peers.”

How to best manage millennials

Nolan cites The Apprentice Academy ‘Buddy Programme’ as being one of the most beneficial additions to the company’s apprentice management structure.

“There’s a lot about the experience of being an apprentice, particularly the day-to-day or more personal aspects that can only be understood and conveyed by somebody who has already been through the apprentice process.

“The Apprentice Academy helped us set up a mentoring programme in which our more experienced apprentices, or those who are now in permanent employment, provide informal support and advice to a new recruit.

“We were confident that, with the support of The Apprentice Academy, we were up to the challenge of training and supporting apprentices. As a company, we set great store by training and development.

As a perfectionist who understands the value of expert training, Nolan wanted theEword’s managers to be fully prepared to take on their new responsibilities.”

“The Apprentice Academy training equipped our apprentice managers with practical guidelines, techniques and tips on getting the best from our ‘millennials’.

One of the many benefits of working with The Apprentice Academy is that they’re always ready to help so any manager who needs further advice can rely on them to provide a fast and informed response.”