Apprentices are invaluable - Business Works
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Apprentices are invaluable

by Lyn Pryke, Manager, Crocker Lettings Despite the criticism from some quarters of society and the media, apprentices can be a Godsend! We are an independent lettings agency - a small business where personalised customer service is key to establishing and maintaining a loyal customer base. A few months ago we looked to grow our team. We considered whether to take on an apprentice or hire an experienced lettings professional?

With an apprentice, we felt we could have someone we could train, nurture and inculcate the Crocker approach to customer service, whilst someone experienced may be set in their ways and resistant to change. We decided on the former and we are delighted that we did so.

To the uninitiated, taking on an apprentice can be a bit overwhelming owing to the paperwork! However, a good apprenticeship training provider can considerably lessen the pain. We approached HTP Training who interviewed suitable candidates and screened them to ensure that they fitted in with our needs. They then worked with us to develop a bespoke training framework which incorporated what the apprentice wanted to achieve from the programme and our organisation's requirements, notably our customer service philosophy. It was a win-win approach.

If you are an SME, the government's £1500 apprenticeship grant can also be helpful. HTP Training worked closely with us to make the process of applying for it much easier. So, if you employ less than 250 members of staff, have not taken on an apprentice for the last three years and are looking for an apprentice who is 16-24 years old, then you are eligible for the £1500 government grant.

Instilling the values of a business amongst staff is never an easy task, especially for small businesses. Most small businesses can't afford to employ dedicated training managers or set up HR departments. The training framework in the apprenticeship programme has been invaluable. Our values: honesty, respect and professionalism are all included, as well as our skills such as telephone etiquette, effective client face-to-face interaction and team working. And it's all aligned to 'the Crocker way of doing things'. What has amazed us is how well our apprentice has taken all this to heart - all evident in her day-to-day work. She has added strength and depth to our team.

Lyn Pryke, Manager, Crocker Lettings

What's the secret to securing a successful apprentice? Sadly, there isn't one! However, in order to reap the full benefits of an apprenticeship, you need to understand that an apprentice is a learner and requires an investment of not just finance, but also time. If customer service is at the heart of your business, it should also be at the heart of your apprenticeship training programme. If you recognise and embrace this then there is no reason at all why you shouldn't have a terrific success on your hands. With the right investment of time and effort, apprenticeships can be enormously successful to any business.

Crocker Lettings is a well-established Independent Letting Agency based on the Isle of Wight and prides itself in offering professional and comprehensive services to both Landlords and Tenants.

Based in southern England, HTP was established in 2000 by Rachael Fidler and specialises in the design and delivery of work-related training and services across a wide range of sectors.

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