Cassie is a Project Manager in the Enterprise Team at Business West. We caught up with her to find out more about managing an apprentice and the benefits it has had for the team.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your career background and your role at Business West?
I am currently a Project Manager at Business West leading on the delivery of the Enterprising West of England Project and the High Impact Scale-Up Coaching Grant Scheme. Both of these are providing grants and advice to businesses in the West of England. I started my career in the International Development sector, bidding for and managing projects in the developing countries around the world. I developed a specialism in business support and have designed and delivered these types of programme ever since both in the UK and internationally.
Do you have an apprentice in your team? If so, what is their role and how do they fit in with the team?
Yes, we have an apprentice in our team. They were taken on as a Project Administrator to support with the day-to-day running of the projects. In reality our apprentice, Liam, has taken on much more challenging tasks than we envisaged he would, stepping in regularly to support members of the team and taking pride in his work.
Before Liam, have you worked with apprentices before or is he the first?
This is the first apprentice I have worked with.
What would you say are the benefits of having an apprentice on the team?
It provides that additional resource to take on tasks the team otherwise would never have got done. This has vastly improved the quality and efficiency of the projects as a whole. You do have to invest some time upfront, as you are essentially taking on a someone without the skills to jump straight in to a role. But the benefits far outweigh the small amount of time invested at the start.
11.5% of businesses say they have not used apprenticeships due to lack of time. What would be your response to that?
There is some time invested upfront, but the ability to work with someone to develop their skills and apply them directly to tasks in a company specific way is well worth the time invested. At the end of the day, apprentices learn as quickly as anyone else. It won’t take long before you have an experienced and dedicated addition to the team.
Is there much difference between line managing an apprentice to an employee who isn’t an apprentice?
The expectations of an apprentice are slightly different. The focus is more on effort invested and attitude to work. More time is invested in mentoring an apprentice upfront than if you hire a qualified person in to a particular role, but at the level apprentices come in at the difference is minimal. At the end of the day teaching someone something new is always requires a little bit of time, whether it’s an apprentice or an established employee. An apprentice can also work with all members of your team reducing time on certain tasks, which may give more junior members of the team experience of managing and adds additional value to an apprentices’ learning.
Do you think an apprentice could work for any size of business?
Yes. As ever, a business needs to be clear on what they want from the person they’re hiring.
Would you recommend hiring an apprentice to other companies?
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Are you willing to take on an apprentice?
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