What’s the value of an apprentice?

Did you know that this week it’s National Apprenticeship Week? The theme for this year is ‘Build the Future’ and there has never been a more apt time to ponder that phrase.

The focus of this theme is looking at how employers train, retain and achieve apprenticeships.

This is the 14th annual week celebration, which takes place across England.  The idea is to showcase the impact apprenticeships can have on communities, local businesses and regional economies, and how they all benefit from this impact.

Obviously, this year, things will be very different, and many people will be relying on technology and virtual meetings during their apprenticeships and during this week of celebration.  However, the week is still as important, if not more so.

It’s already becoming apparent that the pandemic has had a disproportionately negative effect on young people from their schooling and beyond. Apprenticeships, the Kickstarter scheme and other initiatives across the UK are seeking to address this problem.

Working as an apprentice, means that young people can, in the words of Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skill, ‘learn while they earn.’

Covid-19 has raised many challenges for young people wanting to join the job market, and with the increased levels of homeworking, many opportunities are disappearing for young people to develop key skills. Some apprentices have been put on furlough for months because their employer is not in a position to train them effectively – and some who had offers of places have had that opportunity removed. Some business owners cannot keep themselves going, let alone bring on new talent.

Apprenticeships allow young people to develop their potential and enter the workforce earlier.

What is the value of apprentices for employers?

Creative Nature is a young business, in terms of age of our employees.

As the CEO, I am still in my early thirties, so it isn’t surprising that we have several young people working for us. We are now recruiting for an apprentice as I’m writing this, this person will be our second apprentice. We value having someone who is enthusiastic, committed and we are happy to teach them how to be an effective part of our team.

These are some of the benefits we have found from taking on an apprentice:

  1. Taking on someone young into your business, who is starting work for the first time, often brings with them a fresh perspective and new ideas.
  • It is a cost-effective way to increase your workforce – however never underestimate the time it takes to train them.
  • An apprentice in your business can improve your range of skills, (encouraging you to look at the way you do things and why you do them that way), purely by having to pass on your knowledge and expertise to people keen to learn your trade or business. This in turn enhances your own skills.
  • Surveys have shown that 74% of companies found that apprentices tended to be more loyal than non-apprentices, so by taking on an apprentice you can possibly aid staff retention.
  • Funding is available to help businesses take on apprentices.

What is it like to be working as an apprentice/ young person starting out in the job market?

I asked one of our young employees Elllie some questions about her experience of working at Creative Nature.

Ellie is a Design and Marketing Associate who has been with us for just over two years.

Why did you join us? 

After hearing about the role and job description I couldn’t believe it as it sounded like my absolute dream job! I’ve always had an interest in design and Creative Nature’s branding was right up my street.

Describe the journey so far? 

It has been crazy. So much has changed since I joined and I have learned so much along the way. The company has undergone a whole rebrand and launched countless new products (all are delicious by the way). I have also met so many amazing new people.

Who has inspired you within Creative Nature?

Julianne: I have worked with Julianne, (Creative Nature Founder), very closely and I am most inspired by the way she never lets anything stop her. She has faced a lot of different challenges since starting the business, whether that be when things inevitably don’t go to plan, or judgment for simply being female! She doesn’t let anything fase her.

What are your top three learnings so far? 

  1. Prioritisation: The to-do list will always be never ending, so being able to prioritise the most important things to get done is so important.

2. Time management: Weirdly I think this has improved a lot since the first lockdown. I started keeping a daily log of everything I had managed to get done each day, and the times it took me to do it. I can look back at what I am sending too much time on and find ways to work more effectively.

3. Everything gets easier with practice. Some tasks that used to take me an entire day when I first started, will now take me just a morning.

Did you have any worries about joining a company at such a young age? 

No. I didn’t have any worries about joining the company. I felt confident that my A Levels had taught me enough skills to perform the role, and I felt ready to learn SO much. The only thing I was slightly worried about was starting a long commute each day, which I used to find tiring, but now I find it oddly relaxing and I am very much missing the drive while in lockdown.

And, for a little fun which we all need at the moment – here are three things we don’t know about Ellie:

  • I used to be a competitive ski racer, and I wish I still was! I used to train on the dry slope at Aldershot Ski slope but going to the mountains is the most amazing thing, ever!
  • I am vegetarian and I LOVE FOOD so much. But I do think I’m a terrible cook sometimes. I’m known for “winging it” in the kitchen and sometimes things fail terribly.
  • My favourite colour is dark blue, like the colour of the night sky.

To find out more about apprenticeships why not take a look at the Government website here – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/national-apprenticeship-week-2021-date-announced

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