Tees Talk: How apprentices bring new ideas and future leaders into your business

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, we asked seven local businesses why they would recommend apprenticeships, both to individuals and businesses. Here’s what they told us…

Andrew Rowe, partner, Azets

Speaking as someone who started his career via an apprenticeship scheme with the North East Chamber, I may be a little biased! However, Azets believe there are real benefits to taking on apprentices into a modern and flexible workplace.
We see it as a productive and effective way to grow talent. Apprentices bring a fresh perspective and new ideas, usually with fantastic IT skills that they have grown up with.
We see apprenticeships as a way of developing long term careers for our team and this brings a feeling of belonging and a vital understanding of the goals of the firm.

Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive, Middlesbrough College
Apprentices are a fantastic way to bring new talent into your business that adds value, brings a fresh perspective and helps succession plan any key roles you have within your organisation.
Apprentices can be of any age and starting point, from level 2 all the way up to degree level. As well as traditional trades and technically-skilled roles, we are finding more organisations are bringing apprentices into their IT teams, their digital marketing teams and in other support functions such as AAT in finance or first line supervisors gaining vital skills in leadership and management ready for their next promotion.
For our part, we don’t just train thousands of apprentices – we actively employ them and have seen many come through into a variety of management roles across the college group over the years. We just love everything about apprenticeships!

Malcolm Knott, managing director, Industrial Technology Systems
ITS has processes in place for both apprentice and graduate recruitment and development. As a company, we also support (apprenticeship guru) George Ritchie and, through him, the North East Apprentice Ambassador Network (NEAAN).
We have plans to take on another three apprentices across the company over the next six months and George is helping us develop our programmes to meet the newest approaches for apprentice development.
Our current apprentice and graduate recruits are proving there is great potential talent out there. Companies just need to support these people and let them shine. Everyone within ITS has been very impressed by our new recruits and the energy and new thinking they’ve both brought to the business.

Danielle Croce, director, Intasite
From past experience, I find that some industries definitely benefit from vocational training rather than academic learning, specifically in the engineering and tech sectors.
The beauty of apprenticeships means you tend to still get the same academic qualifications over time, especially when you are sponsored by an employer. This can benefit the student as they gain on-hands practical experience in a live business environment. It can also be a cost-effective way for the individual as they don’t leave university with any debt.
We are an SME with a relatively small team but it’s definitely in our plans to invest in apprenticeships – this way we will be able to tailor the apprentice to our organisation and therefore get up to speed more quickly. Apprentices – it’s the future!

Andrew Craddock, chief executive, Darlington Building Society
The apprenticeship programme we launched last summer, in partnership with Northern Skills Group at Middlesbrough College, was a great success and attracted over 250 applications.
This was the first time the society had recruited apprentices, and I have been impressed by each of the eight apprentices we appointed to customer services roles.
Each has now settled into our branch network, meeting members and, alongside their peers, ensuring the society continues to support the communities they serve.
The “Build the Future” theme for National Apprenticeship Week this year is very apt for our apprentices, as they are each being encouraged to look to the future and the steps they will need to take to progress.

Ashley Tizard, managing director, Tascomp
Using the apprenticeship programme has been incredibly positive for Tascomp, helping us move forward as a business. A combination of college learning and on-the-job training has converted every apprentice into essential members of our technical teams and resulted in their permanent employment.
The latest degree-level apprenticeships have also allowed us to upskill our staff in a very cost-effective way, making them more productive and allowing them to progress into higher levels of management.
James has risen from an apprentice technician in our workshop through to a key member of our senior management team. In more recent years, Ben has progressed from an apprentice application engineer to heading up our PlantRun division.

Jodie Coe, director of people and operations, CPI
Apprenticeships are extremely important at CPI and we are committed to supporting the growth of apprentices from the start of their careers and beyond and it supports our approach to organisation development to ensure we can future-proof our talent pipeline for years to come.
The HR and wider CPI team have spent many years working hard to develop and refine our apprenticeship programmes which inspire our people to develop and grow and contribute to our region.
We continue to have a strong focus on the development of local scientists, engineers and businesspeople to connect the dots between education, meaningful experience and growing a career industry.