01354 606848

Vicky Talks Apprenticeships

CUB UK Ltd: Vicky PeatCUB UK Ltd is an energy consultancy business set up in 1994 by the Fairfax family. The organisation’s chairwoman, Jaqui Fairfax, has a real passion for Apprenticeships and has even leant her support to the National Apprenticeship Service. That enthusiasm has spread through the company.

Head of business support Vicky Ellis (pictured) told us just how important apprentices are to CUB UK:

“Currently, we have 27 employees. Of those, six are former apprentices who stayed with us, and two are still apprentices now. That means a third of our workforce are, or began as, apprentices.”

We asked Vicky about the types of position CUB UK has filled with apprentices and the first steps to recruitment:

“At CUB UK, any junior role that doesn’t need any specific skills or experience is considered a potential Apprenticeship. Our apprentices tend to be recruited through colleges, the local job centre or the National Apprenticeship Service. Those are the three main avenues. The most successful has been the job centre. Positions advertised there have lots of exposure even if potential candidates aren’t specifically looking for an apprenticeship position.”

Apprentices who join CUB UK can expect to gain a broad skills base within their chosen Apprenticeship subject and, as Vicky explains, the business is open-minded about extending the reach of Apprenticeships into different areas:

“The two Apprenticeships we’re currently running are in customer services and accounts – areas that cover a range of skills that are transferable to other industries. We may run other types of Apprenticeship in the future. For example, marketing is an area we’d like to look into or we may consider a subject that’s more energy specific. There are always opportunities and we’re always ready to look at new Apprenticeship ideas.”

Most forward-thinking employers are quick to recognise that Apprenticeships deliver real benefits in terms of staff retention, community relations and increased productivity. Vicky highlights another key advantage of the model:

“Apprenticeships are a learning experience for everyone – the apprentice and their colleagues too. They can also be a really good introduction for team leaders or managers to managing young staff, coaching and mentoring them. Rather than just having a position to be filled, an Apprenticeship introduces a whole training and development cycle to a business.”

Such is Vicky’s confidence in Apprenticeships that she feels sure the investment the company is currently making in the scheme will pay off for the long-term:

“Like many of our previous apprentices, we’re expecting the two we have now to stay on. Our accounts apprentice is doing his level 3 Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Apprenticeship with a training organisation called First Intuition, and he’ll go on to do level 4. Our customer services apprentice goes to the College of West Anglia. She’s on level 2 and may go on to a level 3.”

Vicky knows that when you’re running Apprenticeship schemes, a reliable training organisation is a big benefit for a small business:

“We’ve been using the College of West Anglia for a while and we have a really good relationship with them. They know our business, and they understand our needs.”

Asked whether she’d recommend Apprenticeships to other SMEs, Vicky says:

“I would definitely champion Apprenticeships. They’re a great way of recruiting fresh young talent. You get a diverse, dynamic look at things. We’ve found that people with no role-specific skills or work experience can come in with fresh eyes and inspire real innovation.”

Find the full story here: Apprenticemakers