The importance of apprenticeships

I joined Systemagic in 2002 as a junior IT technician and have been lucky enough to rise through the company to become the Managing Director in 2010.  During my 14 years with the company and 6 years at the helm I have learned of the importance of building and developing a strong team in order to guarantee the future success of the business. Especially through apprenticeships.

One of the hardest things for a growing SME is finding and retaining the best quality talent and whilst we are quite lucky in the South West to have a fantastic pool to choose from, ensuring you get the right people that fit with your culture and way of doing things isn’t at all easy or straightforward.

At Systemagic we believe in a total customer focus and we are committed to providing what our clients want, when they need it, in the most effective manner to ensure that the technology works for them.  Indeed, as our core support service is offered on a 30-day rolling contract basis we have to perform as our clients are not contracted and can shop around.  The fact that the majority of our clients have been working with us for many years including clients that initially signed up on a short term basis back in 1999 pays testament to the fact that we must be doing something right.

It became very apparent that if I wanted to make sure Systemagic was to develop in the way our clients were demanding I needed to spread the net as wide as possible and look beyond the traditional methods of recruiting experienced technicians or looking only at graduates.

As a result I started to look at apprentice programmes and I have never looked back.  We currently have 4 apprentices in our core team of 12 and are on the look out for another to join our team in the first half of 2016 and more to follow in the latter part of the year.  Indeed over the period since we first implemented the programme we have had 7 apprentices work with us and whilst not all have gone on to join the team all have contributed to our development. We’ve also won two awards for the way we develop our youth team!

By recruiting apprentices we have been able to access a wider pool of talented young people that all bring something new and different.  Many of them have not performed as they should within the traditional school system but by allying a practical workplace environment with strong class based training and assessment they have really flourished and their core skills have really developed.

I believe in the apprentice system and love working with quality intuitions such as Yeovil College and Bath College that have helped us to take raw talent and mould it into really fantastic colleagues and people to have in our team.  National Apprenticeship Week is something all businesses should support and if you don’t have an apprentice on board you really should ask yourself why!

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