This year, National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2017) runs between Monday, March 6th and Friday, March 10th. It’s most likely that you’ll read a lot about National Apprenticeship Week and the benefits of apprenticeships from recruitment agencies, training companies, large organisations and the Government.

Apprenticeships are growing to become a more and more viable alternative to the conventional route of entry to work via college and University. There are plans to begin apprenticeships in nursing from September 2017. The days of ‘apprenticeships are just for the trades, engineering and industrial’ are very much behind us.

At Tad Web Solutions, our small business has been able to grow through apprenticeships. In this post, we’ll look at three separate perspectives on apprenticeships.

Ian Elcoate, Managing Director of Tad Web Solutions

Ian Elcoate - Managing Director of Tad Web Solutions
Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity for an employer to develop a potential employee in a cost effective manner and develop skills that match our needs from the start.

The main advantages are a low starting wage and the ability for the apprentice to come out wth a qualification at the end but more importantly to demonstrate their employability.

The downsides are the irrelevance of the qualification to our needs, the unresponsiveness of some apprenticeship providers to the needs of employers and the time and capital investment required to make the apprenticeship period useful for both employer and apprentice. We have found that finding our own candidates and then plugging them into the apprenticeship system is the best means of recruitment for the next generation.

The key as an employer is to find a suitable person with the right interpersonal skills, intelligence and attitude required to develop someone employable at the end. This often even makes the qualification irrelevant.

With the right person as an apprentice, the apprenticeship system is a great, cost effective means of growing a business and, despite the downsides, one which we will continue to look at to grow Tad Web Solutions.

James Ward, Current Apprentice of Tad Web Solutions

James Ward - Apprentice Web Designer with Tad Web SolutionsThis week we celebrate apprenticeships and help to showcase that college and University aren’t the only path you have to take from school.

The thing with apprenticeships is that not many people understand how to apply for one or find one. With my school experience I was told that college was the only path I could take if I wanted to make a career for myself – I’ve soon discovered this isn’t necessarily true.

You can come from school and straight into an apprenticeship in which you can learn and earn with the possibility of a job at the end of it, now what’s not to like about that?

All you need is a work ethic and a keen interest to learn whatever it is you wish to pursue. With that said, an apprenticeship isn’t always the best option for everyone, but for many it’s a great opportunity to jump into the world of work and begin moving towards the career that you want.

From my experience so far, apprenticeships are a platform that allow you to do great things and take you to places that you never thought you’d be able to reach in such a small amount of time.

My apprenticeship with Tad Web Solutions has given me the motivation to work towards what I want and also given me the confidence to do things I wouldn’t have done prior. I look forward to finishing my apprenticeship and continuing my career as a web designer.

Peter Calvert, Director & Once Apprentice of Tad Web Solutions

Peter Calvert - Marketing Director of Tad Web SolutionsAn apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to escape the classroom and become independent. I came into a Middlesbrough web design company with no background or experience in the industry, but it was something that I was interested in. More importantly, it was something that I wanted to learn about and forge a career out of.

I took my leap of faith, dropped out of college in 2012 and applied for an apprenticeship with Tad Web Solutions. For a small business formed in a recession, to employ me was their own leap of faith.

Taking part in meetings, managing clients and understanding a small business were all parts of my first 12 months that I loved, but were also parts that no-one had ever mentioned to me when looking at apprenticeships. Perhaps sometimes we get hung up on the qualification at the end of the training and forget about the experience of being an apprentice as a whole.

It’s my second proudest moment to have been taken on full-time after my apprenticeship with Tad Web Solutions. To me, it showed that hard work and willingness to learn had paid off, but also that the hard work of my colleagues had paid off. They had taken the time to support me and wanted to keep me on a permanent contract.

Fast forward to 2016, the company has grown, added staff and moved offices. I had continued learning on the job and loved every minute. I will always owe something to the company that gave me my first ever job, trained me from scratch and offered me a permanent contract. With that in mind, I wanted to repay that and show my commitment going forward. In July 2016, aged 20, I became a Director of Tad Web Solutions. My proudest achievement to date.