A LEADING BUSINESS body is championing apprenticeships after finding its “perfect employee” by making use of the scheme.
Graduate Hayley Nutt has joined the Lockwood-based Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce’s export documentation department after a link-up between the chamber and Kirklees College.
Hayley, who lives at Milnsbridge, gained a degree in interior design at Huddersfield University, but was later made redundant from her job. She worked in retailing for a few years while studying at Kirklees College and gaining qualifications in business administration.
Now she is working in the chamber’s busy export department, which has about 200 regular customers and last year certified 10,616 documents for local firms.
Chamber director Andrew Choi said he decided to recruit through the apprenticeship route after attending the Yorkshire and Humber 2010 Apprentice of the Year Awards in Leeds – and discovering that none of those shortlisted for prizes came from Kirklees.
He said: “We were looking to recruit a new member of the export documentation department and I decided we would appoint an apprentice – not really expecting anything other than a good selection of candidates to consider.
“I was surprised by the service provided by the college – because they dealt with the advertising, sifting, shortlisting and recommendations. It offered cost-savings compared to the normal way of recruitment and meant we had good quality of applications. The person we choose already had a good degree, she is bright and she is local. From almost every perspective, she was the perfect candidate.”
Mr Choi said: “If apprenticeships do that for every business, it should be a no-brainer for employers. Even if you are not thinking about apprenticeships, there are cost-savings to be made and you might just find the best person for the job.
“We genuinely hope there will be more Kirklees candidates at the 2011 apprentice awards.”
Hayley, who hails from Oxford and came to Huddersfield to attend university, said that after being made redundant and undertaking training at the college, her appointment with the chamber was “the next step up”.
She said: “This job fits in with what I had been doing at college and takes it to another level.
“I have found it a challenge because I have not done this before, but I have completed day-release for NVQ level 3 in business administration and I have completed the national chamber qualification.”
Christine Ward, learning and assessment officer for the school of business and professional studies at Kirklees College, said: “The key is finding people who are really well-matched to the needs of the employer and then provide ongoing training to underpin the placement.
“The apprentices get a lot of support. In the current climate, apprenticeships provide a fabulous way for employers to train and develop their staff because it is either funded or subsidised.
“Employers phone the college and their interest is registered. It is then passed through to the appropriate section. We find out what the employer is looking for and at that point we either go to a bank of people or we start to recruit to find someone on the employers’ behalf.
“The jobs are advertised on the national apprenticeship matching website as well.
“There are opportunities for the apprentice to attend college on a day-release basis and the learning and assessment officer will go into the workplace with the apprentice to provide support.”