Exclusive interview with Ben Rowland, Deputy Chairman at Agilisys Arch

Apprentice Eye recently met with Ben Rowland, Deputy Chairman at Agilisys Arch, to find out first hand the benefits that apprentices can bring to business. Here’s what he had to say:

 1. Do you think that apprenticeships should be seen as equal to university degrees?

More and more ‘high level’ careers are opening up to apprentices, for example PwC has launched a successful apprenticeship route into accountancy and tax and here at Agilisys, we have created a route in the digital marketing and IT sectors also through apprenticeships.  This means that apprenticeships are equal to university degrees as a route into a great career – but without the debt and three year delay!  Degrees are still the right route for some people, of course, but we want to see more professions opening up more opportunities through apprenticeships.

2. How have apprenticeships benefitted Agilisys?

There have been three major benefits for Agilisys from developing and delivering apprenticeships through Arch.  The first is that we’ve been able to get hold of talented young people right at the start of their careers and train them up with the skills we need them to have.  Their attitude and work ethic has enabled us to do not just more things, but different things.  The second is we have been able to directly help lots of our local authority clients to address their challenge of creating good opportunities for their young residents.  Finally, we’ve been able to deliver apprenticeships for other companies, like Google and Barclays, which has enhanced our capabilities and reputation as an innovative service provider.

3. What does a digital marketing apprentices’ typical day consist of?

There’s a huge variety, even within an individual apprentice’s day.  That’s the nature of the work that they’re doing! Some of our apprentices are involved in web design and build, others are involved in campaign management (for example, creating and tracking pay per click advertisements), others are involved in creating feeds for social media and monitoring others’ posts and others still doing the hard data analytics to understand how well different sales and marketing methods are working.  All the time, they are learning about and contributing to the wider work of the company.

4. How long do apprentices stay with their companies?

Arch Apprentices complete their apprenticeship typically in 12-13 months.  We’re finding that most of them are being kept on by the same employer – after all, they can do the job, they know the company and the company knows them and they are still less expensive to employ than a new graduate.

5. Would you encourage other employers to get involved? How can they go about this?

Based on our experience within Agilisys and with almost 30 other employers, most definitely! Apprentices are a great way to meet short term resource requirements but in a way that is cost-effective AND that builds the longer term talent supply for your business.  It does require employers to invest in their apprentice in terms of time and attention – but apprentices more than repay this investment even within the period of the apprenticeship, and are tailor made for full time roles once they have completed the apprenticeship.  It’s a pretty simple process to get involved, starting with a phone call with one of our Employer Engagement team on 020 8080 9553, the creation of a job description and then assessing – usually including a week’s work experience – and selecting the candidates from the short list that we put together for you.