Anita Brightley-Hodges, boss of Detling-based Family Business Place, encourages firms to create their own apprenticeship courses as she supports the Kick Start Kent campaign
I have one key piece of advice for anyone looking to take on an apprentice.
If you can do it, design your own apprenticeship scheme tailored to your business.
In my 30 years of running a business, I’ve always been keen to support internships and work experience and have had various youngsters over the years who have gone on to do great things and have brilliant careers.
I truly believe that we played a small part in that by giving them training, guidance and personal development as well as exposure to the ‘real’ world of business away from the classroom.
Historically apprenticeships have been more vocational and not really relevant to our marketing and events business.
As a result, I was delighted when new digital marketing and social media apprenticeships began to appear a few years ago.
Eager to do our bit, we engaged a training provider who promised the earth.
"Finding good staff is becoming more difficult so it’s important the apprenticeship is successful and the individual develops into a valuable part of the team..." - Anita Brightley-Hodges, Family Business Place
Unfortunately, what they offered wasn’t up to scratch when it came to delivering the training and the service we expected.
On many occasions they let us and our apprentices down.
Unfortunately the theory part of their apprenticeship was severely lacking and disengaging compared with the busy, vibrant side they were experiencing with us.
When my youngest daughter, Olympia, joined the business we searched high and low for a graphic design framework she could embark on.
Unfortunately there was nothing out there which inspired her. The training providers told her to ‘choose something that sort of fits’ and work around it.
That means she’d be wasting time studying things which were of no relevance to her just to tick some boxes.
As a result, we crafted our own curriculum for her and put together a full apprenticeship framework.
For any small business, taking on an apprentice is a huge investment – both in time and money.
Finding good staff is becoming more difficult so it’s important the apprenticeship is successful and the individual develops into a valuable part of the team.
That’s why our experience of the government’s apprenticeship scheme led us to developing our own curriculum which is far more valuable to us as a business and Olympia as an apprentice.