Andrew Baud: Tala

Andrew Baud: Tala

Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular route for bright, able school leavers across the UK. Andrew Baud, managing director of seven-strong communications business Tala, was quick to recognise the pool of talent on offer:

“There’s a generation of young people out there who are turned off university for whatever reason, despite the fact that they may have very good GCSE and A’ Level results. We wanted to tap into that talent and take the opportunity to develop young people.”

Tala, which is based in the village of Shutford in Oxfordshire, is at present a small business. Because of this, Andrew knew he’d need to shape an apprentice to fit in and become part of the team:

“As a business we’ve got quite a distinct style and way of doing things. I was very keen to bring someone in at trainee level in order that we could build up their skills and experience and make them a kind of Tala ambassador.”

Supported by his training organisation, Andrew began a recruitment drive to find the right apprentice. Having received 14 applications and interviewed two candidates, he chose Lydia Hayward, who had an impressive three As at A Level in Maths, Biology and Chemistry. During her time as an apprentice Lydia has picked up some invaluable skills that only come with hands-on experience:

“Last year, we got the call to respond to the horsemeat in burgers scandal. It was a massive job and we worked pretty much full time on it for three months. Lydia was in the right place at the right time in order to be fully involved in that and see what it’s like running a busy press office under crisis circumstances.”

As with many successful Apprenticeships, Lydia’s experience in the world of work was designed to encompass plenty of different skills and experiences. Andrew explains that this approach has helped Lydia to thrive at Tala:

“We quite deliberately made the Apprenticeship as broad as possible and gave Lydia opportunities to get face-to-face contact with clients where appropriate. Since she’s been with us Lydia’s taken on increasing levels of responsibility for specific clients. Last year, for example, we had a charity client that came to us with a very distinct bit of work and I was able to hand that over almost in its entirety to Lydia, to get on with under my guidance.”

Now, Lydia has finished her Apprenticeship, gained her professional public relations qualification and has been taken on as a permanent account executive for Tala. Andrew stands by his original hunch that Apprenticeships and small businesses are an excellent combination for success:

“Apprenticeships provide a really good alternative stream of talent to graduates. You need to recruit on intelligence and likely aptitude and make the commitment to ensuring that the person develops in the mould of your organisation. There’s very little point in doing it otherwise and you’ll reap the rewards.”

Read the first of three blogs from Tala’s apprentice Lydia Hayward.

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