I have been an Employer Engagement Manager (EEM) in Education at risual for just over 2 years now. I have recently been reflecting on a key aspect of my role that many people might not understand or appreciate. I would like to share with you some of my experience gained from supporting employers to find the right employees for their business. Hopefully this will help to demonstrate some of the “hidden value” that businesses can benefit from by recruiting and employing apprentices.

In my first 6 months in the role I worked with a couple of small IT Support providers who had different experience regarding apprentices. In one case the employer had worked with other training providers before and employed apprentices with some success. They had no formal HR function in the company and it soon became apparent that other than conducting interviews that it was down to me to find them suitable candidates. The other employer was similar, but in their case they had no experience of employing apprentices in the few years since the business had been established.

In both cases introduced above I took Job Descriptions from the employers and adapted them to become advertisements for their vacancies. I posted the vacancy advertisements online and by the time the two week application deadline had expired there were ten or more applications for each job. I then had to look at all the applications to decide which ones were suitable when judged against the employers requirements. In both cases this reduced the numbers to around five who I then contacted for a short informal telephone interview. Following this I submitted around three job applications to each employer. In both cases they asked to interview all the candidates, but as they were very busy just gave me a date and asked me to arrange he interview timeslots etc. with the candidates. (If this is beginning to sound like the role of a recruitment agency you would be right). Following the interviews both employers asked me to make the job offer verbally to the successful candidates and to give feedback to those who were unsuccessful. One of the employers was so impressed with the candidates that they decided to take two on. In one case the employer asked me to negotiate the wage on their behalf as the successful candidate was not happy with their initial offer. Finally, around 6 weeks from me receiving Job Descriptions the new apprentices started with their respective employers.

Nearly 2 years on from my first meeting with the employers I will bring you up to date with the current situation. One (who employ approx. 30 people) is about to start their fourth risual apprentice following successful outcomes with their first two. The other employer (only 10 people in the business) has just started their third risual apprentice following successful outcomes with their first two. Their first apprentice was the recipient of the IT Apprentice of the Year at the annual QSA awards in Cardiff in March 2018. All of the apprentices have been retained by their employers following completion of their apprenticeship and I have no doubt they will recruit more apprentices over the coming years.

Apologies for the length of my story (but those who know me won’t be surprised), but I think it demonstrates the importance of the free recruitment service we provide to employers. However, it also gives others an insight into the “hard yards” done by an EEM in order to win business and build long term customer relationships.