Adam is a speaker in our upcoming Apprenticemakers LIVE Webinar on the 17th September.
Essex-based Grove & Dean is a family-run insurance business that currently counts 16 apprentices amongst its 200-strong workforce. Training Manager, Adam Thomas works with Roy Gander of Havering College’s Business Engagement Team to run the business’s Apprenticeship programme.
“It’s my job to look after the apprentices. I do everything from taking them on and overseeing their education and development to more general HR tasks.”
Since beginning the Apprenticeship scheme nearly two years ago, Adam has been pleased with the results:
“We’d taken on younger people before and some of them worked out really well so we decided to look at Apprenticeships, give the idea more structure and see what sort of candidates we got. To be honest I’m really pleased with the candidates we received so that’s why we continued.”
The majority of the apprentices Adam recruits have good A level results, although some give a particularly strong interview and are offered an Apprenticeship. The Apprenticeships are built around NVQs at level 3 – the level aimed at team leaders and managers. After this, some apprentices at Grove & Dean are put forward to sit the Foundation Insurance Test exam (FIT) to become professional insurance brokers. Adam and his team at Grove & Dean are determined to nurture all the talent that comes through the business:
“With us, the sky’s the limit. You can go on and do whatever you want, we won’t stop you. You can even get to Master’s degree level.”
So how do Havering College work with the business to identify the right candidates? Adam explains that he simply lets the college know he’s looking for an apprentice to match certain criteria and they send suitable candidates, a system that has proved successful:
“Everyone we’ve taken on has remained employed with us so that’s a testament to the fact that the college has given us the right candidates.”
Beyond recruitment, the support continues:
“The college are very good, I’d say at least once a week they check up on one of the apprentices. The apprentices have day release to go to college once a week, and the college keeps a close eye on them so if someone doesn’t turn up, misbehaves in class or isn’t producing work to the required level they’d be straight in contact with me.”
Some businesses in the past have been unscrupulous, using apprentices as cheap labour, with no intention of offering them permanent roles. However, at Grove & Dean Apprenticeships are seen as genuine and valuable routes into employment:
“At Grove & Dean, we take these people on and we want to give them a job at the end of the year. Apprentices are given experience in every department so we can identify whether this person is good in sales or customer service or renewals or IT… Then we’ll tailor their training to the correct business area.”
Adam’s opinion and experience of Apprenticeships is extremely positive and he says: “If a business was thinking of taking on an apprentice, I would 100% definitely recommend it!”