Apprenticeships: Guiding the way to finishing line

Shrewsbury College has been offering Apprenticeships for over 20 years, delivering training programmes to over 800 apprentices of all ages. Guiding employers through the process means they can help to find the right person for each role – and with a host of success stories for both apprentices and their employers, there has never been a better time to consider taking on or becoming an apprentice.

Mail Solutions, based in Telford, has recently seen five supervisors complete Management Apprenticeships through Shrewsbury College.

Operations Director, Paul Rigby, said: “We are a very hands on and busy company and therefore have little time and opportunity to train our supervisors with the skills and knowledge required to enable them to become managers in the future.

“The team of apprentices covered many valuable units during their training with Shrewsbury College, including conflict management, improving performance, solving problems, interviewing skills and dealing with disciplinary procedures.

“As a result of his Apprenticeship, one of my team has implemented an appraisal process, which is not something we had in place previously. We have promoted a number of staff from each shift to become training mentors. This enabled each new trainee to have one to one training, which hasn’t really happened before at Mail Solutions.

“We hold monthly reviews with the trainee and training mentor and discuss how they have developed over the past month and set targets for the following month. As a result of this initiative, the company has benefitted from the trainees developing at a faster rate than any previously.

“Existing staff and new recruits now get a much more dedicated service in terms of having their progress monitored and evaluated. This is good for our business and the result is happier, loyal staff and a higher retention rate - therefore a benefit to all!

“Since the Apprenticeships, the team have more confidence in dealing with sensitive issues such as conflict and absence. They understand the importance of going through the correct procedures and using the proper methods of documenting these sensitive areas, therefore everyone understands that a fair system is in place.

“Lastly, the Apprenticeships have instilled not just confidence in the team but have served to motivate them further. They now want to be more involved with the business and ask to take on projects that will add value to our company.

“Due to the scheme’s success I am now in a position to recruit more apprentices and develop our relationship further with Shrewsbury College.”

“Apprenticeships are an excellent vehicle for future progression, not just for school leavers, but also for existing staff to further develop their skills, who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to take qualifications.”

Richard Baker, Supervisor at Mail Solutions, has recently completed his Apprenticeship.

He said: “The Apprenticeship has given me a lot more confidence in my role as a shift manager. I feel as though I now deal with situations in a more confident manner because of what I have learned during the Apprenticeship.

“The course has given me the right tools and knowledge to deal with situations, such as conflict and prioritising tasks. I found the Apprenticeship to be interesting and was surprised at how much I learned. The staff at the College and my assessor were always on hand to give advice if needed and I really appreciate all the knowledge I have gained throughout the course.”

Chris Crane, Apprenticeship Assessor and Trainer at Shrewsbury College, worked with the five apprentices at Mail Solutions. She met with the team on a monthly basis and with some on the night shift to fit in with their working patterns. Over 18 months she built up an excellent relationship with them all, as she was able to understand not just the needs of the business but also their needs as aspiring Managers and supervisors, and together they were able to come up with solutions for many challenging areas in the business. 

Chris said: “They were all incredibly keen to progress, and despite their busy work schedules, were able to complete work for me in between visits.

“It was satisfying to see them grow in confidence and ability in the Management tasks they carried out, many of which were new to them, and they were pleased to report back to me on what they had implemented in their day to day work.

“They were all proud to have completed their Apprenticeships, which will stand them in good stead for their future careers. They are now all equipped with the knowledge and skills to help them deal with the many demands of managing staff and operations in a business environment.”

To find out more about Apprenticeships at Shrewsbury College, whether you are an employer or looking to becoming an apprentice, please call Course Advice on 01743 342332

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